Liza Minnelli and mom Judy Garland
Judy Garland may have lived a charmed life onscreen, but offscreen she battled major demons. The child actress turned adult star endured years of mistreatment while under her studio contract as a kid, including the forced consumption of amphetamine pills to keep her awake for the frantic pace of filming. As a result of this abuse, she led a troubled life marred by addiction, and sadly passed away at the age of 47 of an apparent accidental overdose.
A bright spot in Garland’s journey, however, was most definitely the birth of her children, including superstar in her own right, Liza Minnelli. “She was funny, very funny, clear, incredibly intelligent, but more than you could even imagine, and in the moment,” Minnelli has said of her famous mother, adding that her favorite memories of Garland were, “Everything."
"We had such fun because she was so funny," she contnued. "She was funny, and she loved her kids so much. She was protective and very strict. She wanted you to do the right thing, like any mother. It’s that simple.”
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Judy Garland’s children.
How many children did Judy Garland have?
Judy Garland was the proud mother of three children: Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. Her children remain protective of their mother to this day.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about my mama is that she didn’t provide me with a happy childhood,” Minnelli has explained. “There were highs and lows for sure, but I can say I was very happy. If people choose to believe that or not, it’s up to them, but I know I was happy.”
Lorna has echoed this sentiment. “I've always said this ... we've all had tragedies in life, but we're not tragic. And she had tragedies, but she was not tragic, and she didn't pass it on to us,” she said. "Our mom had such an extraordinary sense of humor, and that was her survival guide. That is what I can tell you has been my lifeline is to find the funny—just find the funny. And we do, we just find the funny because I think that is the way that we were raised and brought up and we watched a woman who found the funny."
Who are Judy Garland's children and what happened to them?
The Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland had three children. One of those three kids is especially well-known to the public, but all three were loved equally by their mother.
Judy Garland’s eldest child is EGOT winner Liza Minnelli. Garland gave birth to the future icon on March 12, 1946. Minnelli is incredibly famous for her own stellar career, including standout performances in 1972’s Cabaret (for which she won a Best Actress Oscar), 1977’s New York, New York and 1981’s Arthur, among many, many other film roles. She’s also a talented performer on Broadway, having collaborated with John Kander and Fred Ebb, the minds behind such musical hits as Cabaret and Chicago. At 19, she won a Tony for her performance in Kander and Ebb’s Flora the Red Menace in 1965, making her the youngest actress to take home that trophy. Minnelli may be best known to younger audiences for her hilarious role on the series Arrested Development, as Lucille 2, the frenemy of the show’s matriarch, Jessica Walter’s Lucille.
In addition to her performance cred (she's an equally talented singer, actor and dancer), Minnelli was also seen as quite the fashion icon in her day, with her signature pixie cut inspiring many imitators. Minnelli also has the distinction of being seen as an enduring gay icon, with a huge fanbase in the LGBTQIA+ community. Most recently, Minnelli was seen alongside Lady Gaga at the 2022 Academy Awards presenting the award for Best Picture.
Of receiving immediate fame due to her notable parents, Minnelli has quipped, “I was born and they took a picture.”
Judy Garland gave birth to her second child, daughter Lorna Luft, on Nov. 21, 1952. Like her famous mother and older half-sister, Lorna is also a singer and actress. She grew up performing with her famous family in such tours as Judy Garland at Home at the Palace. Lorna has also appeared in multiple Broadway and Off-Broadway shows over the course of her career, including in productions like Promises, Promises and Snoopy! The Musical. On the small screen, she’s acted in shows like Trapper John, M.D. and Murder, She Wrote, and on the big screen, her most famous role to date is as Paulette Rebchuck in Grease 2.
In 1998, Lorna published the New York Times best-selling memoir, Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir, which was adapted into an Emmy-winning TV miniseries (Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows) in 2001, starring Judy Davis as Garland. She followed that up as the co-author (alongside film historian Jeffrey Vance) of 2018’s A Star Is Born: Judy Garland and the Film That Got Away, an in depth exploration of the classic movie's production and legacy.
Of her mother, Lorna has said, "I do think my mother was a victim of the studio system. It also gave her the ability to channel her talent to all of us. It was a real double-edged sword."
Lorna has also discussed her sometimes tumultuous relationship with her older half-sister, Liza Minnelli. “My sister and I will always find our way back to one another, no matter what comes into being. Our family's just a little strange because it's under a microscope."
Joey Luft is Judy Garland’s youngest child and her only son. He was born on March 29, 1955. Unlike his older siblings, Joey has largely shied away from the limelight, though he did grow up performing alongside his famous family in tours and on episodes of The Judy Garland Show. In 2014, he stood firmly in the spotlight when he performed in his storytelling show in Pasadena, CA, A Judy Garland Concert with Joey Luft.
Though Joey is a more private person than the rest of his family, he does not hesitate to appear in interviews related to his mother’s legacy, like in 1990’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic and 2014’s The Oscars: Tribute to 75 Years of The Wizard of Oz.
Joey has openly discussed the difficulties of life with his mom. “There were times when my mom wasn’t acting right, so I’d ask my dad [Sidney Luft], ‘Is she sick?’ and he explained it all to me. It was exceptionally hard to deal with as a kid. I was powerless. She was a great person, but she had that addiction.”
However, he has maintained a love and admiration for her too. “She was a performer. She was a mother. She loved people. She was the most caring person. She had the greatest sense of humor.”
Who were the fathers of Judy Garland's children?
Judy Garland was married a whopping five times in her 47-year life. Her husbands were: David Rose (1941-1944), Vincente Minnelli (1945-1951), Sidney Luft (1952-1965), Mark Herron (1965-1969) and Mickey Deans (1969). However, she only had children with two of her five husbands.
Vincente Minnelli was the father of Liza Minnelli and the second husband of Judy Garland. He was a famous American director of stage and film, best known for his movies Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), An American in Paris (1951), The Band Wagon (1953) and Gigi (1958). Both An American in Paris and Gigi won Oscars for Best Picture, with the latter earning Vincente the Oscar for Best Director.
Vincente met his future wife Judy Garland on the set of 1940’s Strike Up the Band, when he was asked to design a musical sequence for the young actress and her frequent co-star Mickey Rooney. Garland was just 18 while Vincente was 19 years her senior at 37. However, the two didn’t fall in love until they were working together on 1944’s Meet Me in St. Louis. The duo married the following year in June 1945 and Liza Minnelli, their only child together, was born the year after in 1946. The couple would go on to work together twice more in 1945’s The Clock and 1948’s The Pirate before ultimately divorcing in 1951. Vincente Minnelli passed away at the age of 83 in 1986.
Sidney Luft was Judy Garland’s third husband and the father of her two youngest children, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. He was a figure in the film industry, acting at various times as a manager and film producer. Sidney Luft met Garland in 1937 when she was just 15, however the two did not begin dating until 14 years later in 1951, while Garland was still married to Vincente Minnelli. When they began their relationship, Garland was at a low point in her personal life and career, having recently been hospitalized for a suicide attempt.
Sidney took over as Garland’s manager and is even credited as having brokered the deal with Warner Bros. to bankroll her comeback film, 1954’s A Star is Born, which earned her an Oscar nomination (he is credited as a producer on the film). The two married in June 1952, and Garland gave birth to their first child together, Lorna, in November of the same year. Their second child together, Joey, was born a few years later in March 1955.
Sidney Luft would go on to become Garland’s longest relationship, with the two remaining married for 14 years, from 1952 until 1965, though they did live “virtually separate lives” by 1962, largely due to her pill addiction, according to Sidney.
Sidney Luft’s memoir, Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland, was published posthumously in 2017, following his death in 2005. The book, which is based on notes from the autobiography he drafted but never published, details his tumultuous relationship with the troubled star.
How old was Judy Garland when she had Liza Minnelli?
Judy Garland was just 23 when she gave birth to her oldest child, daughter Liza Minnelli. Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946. She grew up in the spotlight, constantly performing alongside her mother, and later, her half brother and sister.
Minnelli had a close bond with her mother. “My fondest memory of my mama was the conversations we had," she's said. "As I became a teenager, I became her best friend and confidante. We would laugh and talk for hours. Sometimes in person, sometimes on the phone, depending where we were.”
How old was Liza Minnelli when Judy Garland died?
Liza Minnelli was just 23 when her mother died, ironically the same age her mother was when she gave birth to her. Judy Garland died at the age of 47 on June 22, 1969 of an apparent accidental overdose. Minnelli’s siblings were even younger when their mother passed away, Lorna was 16 and Joey was 14.
Minnelli had this to say about her mother’s death: “When she died, I almost knew why. She let her guard down. She didn’t die from an overdose. I think she just got tired. She lived like a taut wire. I don’t think she ever looked for real happiness, because she always thought happiness would mean the end.”
Are all of Judy Garland's children still alive?
As of this writing, all three of Judy Garland’s children, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, are still alive. However, that’s not to say they haven’t faced their share of health scares.
Minnelli has had to deal with alcoholism and pill addiction, viral encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain caused by a virus which left her unable to walk or speak at the time), a hiatal hernia, as well as a jawbone injury, a back injury and wrist injuries. Most recently, she was confined to a wheelchair when out in public, like at her appearance at the 2022 Oscars.
Lorna Luft has also had her fair share of health battles. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, for which she underwent treatment at the time and then again when it re-emerged in 2015. She was also diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2018, which she had surgically removed.
Who was Judy Garland with when she died?
Judy Garland was alone when she passed away of an apparent accidental overdose on the morning of June 22, 1969. She had just married her fifth husband, Mickey Deans, three months prior to her death, on March 15, 1969. It was Deans who discovered Garland that tragic morning.
Deans and Garland had dated for three years off-and-on before marrying, having met in 1966 under unusual circumstances—he was posing as a doctor while delivering a package of stimulant tablets to the singer’s hotel room.
How much was Judy Garland worth at the time of her death?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Judy Garland had a net worth of $40,000 when she passed away, equivalent to more than $344,000 today. Though the actress had earned over $400,000 from her movie roles before the age of 18 and made almost $10 million over the course of her career, she experienced severe financial problems throughout her life. This was due to a combination of financial mismanagement as well as a tendency to be overly generous with her friends and family.
A few years prior to her death, Garland found out she owed the IRS $500,000 (nearly $5 million when adjusted for inflation), which led to the IRS placing a tax lien on her home and garnishing her royalties and wages.
By comparison, Judy Garland’s daughter Liza Minnelli currently has a reported net worth of $50 million. She has earned that cushy backing due to her immense success as a singer, actor, dancer and choreographer.
Did Judy Garland leave anything to her children?
Unfortunately, as stated above, Judy Garland’s net worth had greatly decreased by the time of her passing in 1969 to just $40,000. In fact, she was in so much debt by that time that many of the philanthropic requests she had outlined in her will could not be fulfilled.
After her death, her daughter Liza Minnelli had to go about raising the funds to pay off the debts from her mother’s estate. In addition to Minnelli auctioning off her mother’s personal items to raise the money, Frank Sinatra also personally contributed towards clearing the debts.
Does Judy Garland have grandchildren?
Judy Garland does indeed have grandchildren. Her second child, daughter Lorna Luft, had two children with musician Jake Hooker. Her son, Jesse Hooker, was born in 1984 and her daughter, Vanessa O’Neill, was born in 1990. Jesse keeps a fairly private life, so not much is known about him. Vanessa works as a personal trainer and nutrition coach.
Of her famous lineage through grandmother Judy Garland, Vanessa has said, “I’m in awe even being her own granddaughter. I’m so impressed and blown away that this 4-foot-11 little woman has this humongous voice.”
Judy Garland not only has grandchildren, but she also has great-grandchildren. Jesse and Vanessa have two kids each, making the legend a great-grandmother four times over.