Judy Garland's five marriages explained: Who were her husbands and how many children did she have?

23 December 2021, 14:39

Judy Garland
Judy Garland. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Judy Garland is the subject of a recent biopic starring Renee Zellweger as the talented yet tragic Hollywood icon.

Set in London towards the end of her life in the 1960s, Judy features some of her five famous husbands and children on screen.

But who exactly did Judy Garland marry and how many children did she have?

  1. Husband number one: David Rose

    Judy Garland and David Rose
    Judy Garland and David Rose. Picture: Getty

    David Rose was an American songwriter, composer, arranger, pianist, and orchestra leader.

    His best-known works were 'The Stripper', 'Holiday for Strings', and 'Calypso Melody'. He also wrote music for various TV shows, including Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, and Highway Patrol under the pseudonym Ray Llewellyn.

    Garland began a relationship with Rose in the early 1940s, and on her 18th birthday, he gave her an engagement ring. Her film studio intervened as he was still married to actress and singer Martha Raye at the time.

    They agreed to wait a year after his divorce became final. During the same time, Garland had a brief affair with songwriter Johnny Mercer. Garland and Rose married on July 27, 1941.

    They had no children, though Garland, according to biographer Gerald Clarke, had at least one abortion during the marriage, at the insistence of her mother, husband, and the studio MGM. They divorced in 1944.

    Rose died in 1990, aged 80.

  2. Husband number two: Vincente Minnelli

    Judy Garland with Vincent and daughter Liza
    Judy Garland with Vincent and daughter Liza after their divorce. Picture: Getty

    Vincent Minnelli was an American stage director and film director. He is best known for directing classic movie musicals such as Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris and Gigi.

    During the filming of Meet Me in St. Louis, Garland and Minnelli had an initial falling out, but they soon started a relationship and married on June 15, 1945.

    In March 1946, their daughter Liza Minnelli was born, who went on to become an international star herself.

    The couple divorced by 1951. He died in 1986, aged 83.

  3. Husband number three: Sidney Luft

    Judy Garland and Sidney Luft in 1957
    Judy Garland and Sidney Luft in 1957. Picture: Getty

    Sidney Luft was an American showbusiness figure, who became Garland's tour manager and producer.

    Soon after divorcing Minnelli, Garland married Luft in 1952.

    Garland gave birth to Lorna Luft, who herself became an actress and singer, in November 1952, and to Joey Luft in March 1955.

    In 1963, Garland sued Luft for divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty. She claimed he had repeatedly hit her while he was drinking. She had filed for divorce from Luft several times before, but they had made up each time. They were finally divorced in 1965.

    He passed away in 2005, aged 89.

    Actor Rufus Sewell plays Luft in the Judy movie.

  4. Husband number four: Mark Herron

    Judy Garland and Mark Herron in 1964
    Judy Garland and Mark Herron in 1964. Picture: Getty

    Mark Herron was an actor who appeared in films such as Federico Fellini's 8½, Girl in Gold Boots and Eye of the Cat.

    He produced her two London Palladium concerts alongside her daughter Liza Minnelli in 1964, as well as some personal appearances in Canada in 1965.

    Herron announced the couple had married on a freighter off the coast of Hong Kong, but she was not officially divorced from Luft at the time. They did not legally marry until November 1965.

    However, they separated just six months later. Garland testified that Herron had beaten her, but he claimed that he "only hit her in self-defence".

    Herron died of cancer in 1996, aged 67.

  5. Husband number five: Mickey Deans

    Judy and Mickey cutting their wedding cake in 1969
    Judy and Mickey cutting their wedding cake in 1969. Picture: Getty

    Mickey Deans was an American musician and entrepreneur.

    He is said to have met Garland at her hotel in New York City. A mutual friend of theirs asked Deans to deliver a package of stimulant tablets to the actress.

    As Garland's two youngest children were present at the time, he introduced himself as a doctor.

    After three years of dating, Deans proposed and they were married in 1969, in London.

    He helped to promote Garland's career towards the end of her life, but he struggled to battle her use of prescription drugs.

    Deans tragically discovered Garland dead on June 22, 1969. He said that he found her seated on the toilet, having died from an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

    Deans died in 2003, aged 68.

    Actor Finn Wittrock plays Deans in the Judy movie.