< Return to Adherents.com's Guide to Movies
< Return to Religion of the AFI's Top 50 Screen Legends
< Return to Famous Episcopalians
The Religious Affiliation of
great American actress
Judy Garland's parents were Episcopalians, and Judy was a baptized Episcopalian. Judy's family regularly attended services at the local Episcopalian church while she was growing up. Garland was not known to have been active in any denomination as an adult, but she did think of herself as a Protestant Episcopalian.
From: Schott Schechter, Judy Garland: The Day-by-Day Chronicle of a Legend. Cooper Square Press: New York, NY (2002), page 3:
June 10, 1922, 5:30 a.m.: Judy was born as Frances Ethel Gumm, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota... July 19, 1922, 10 a.m.: Frances [Judy Garland] was baptized at the Episcopal Church by the rector, Robert Arthur Cowling, of Hibbing... Baptism noted in July 19, 1922 edition of The Herald-Review, Grand Rapids, Minnesota's local newspaper.
Garland's parents Frank and Ethel were married in an Episcopalian ceremony. Source: Gerald Clarke, Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland, Dell Publishing: New York, NY (2000), page 4:
...January 22, 1914... Standing before a newly ordained Episcopalian priest, they exchanged vows in the parlor of the Milnes' house on Banks Avenue.
Judy Garland's maternal grandmother was Episcopalian; her maternal grandfather was agnostic. Source: Clarke, pages 5-7:
Her [Ethel Gumm's] parents were Canadian. Her father, John Milne... was the son of Scottish immigrants. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1865, he was a railroadman...
Judy Garland's father Frank was an active Episcopalian, as was Frank's godfather George M. Darrow. Source: Clarke, pages 10-14:
[Page 7] In an age of faith and piety, [Judy Garland's maternal grandfather] John Milne was a proud and vocal agnostic. He went so far as to name his third son after Robert Ingersoll, the late-nineteenth-century thinker who toured the country lecturing against orthodox religion. Just as Ingersoll delighted in making it hot for "the dear old stupid theologians," was he once phrased it, so John, who was perhaps too fond of the bottle, seemed to enjoy making it hot for his dear old Episcopalian wife. Possessed of an equally strong will, Eva [Judy Garland's maternal grandmother] matched him insult for insult. Their bickering never stopped, and despite all the music, there was not much harmony in the Milne house.
For Frank [Judy Garland's father], rescue came, as if by divine intervention, from the richest man in town, George M. Darrow... Darrow, whose nickname was "the Boss," always got what he went after. When he could not find a church of his own Episcopalian faith in Murfreesboro, he proceeded to establish one. Its modest frame building on South Spring Street looked downright puny by comparison with the stately structures of the long-dominant Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians, but St. Paul's had something the others could envy: it had Frank Gumm [Judy Garland's father], whose voice had so captivated the Boss that that he had recruited him to sing in his choir. Darrow's church could not match the attendance numbers of its bigger rivals; but with Frank singing solo, his boy's soprano as pure and sweet as childhood itself, it surpassed them all in its musical devotions.
Judy Garland's parents Frank and Ethel already had two daughters when Ethel became pregnant with a third child (Judy). Ethel did not want a third child, and she tried to induce a miscarriage. Frank asked his friend Marcus Rabinowitz, a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Minnesota, to perform an abortion to terminate the baby. Marcus refused to do so, pointing out how dangerous it could be to Ethel. He promised that the baby would be healthy and happy, and that Ethel would be lucky to have kept the baby. [Source: Clarke, page 18]
Just two years younger than Will Gumm [Frank's father, Judy's grandfather], Darrow became Frank's godfather, a role he fulfilled, as he did all others, with unrestrained vigor. In June 1899, three months after Frank's thirteenth birthday, Darrow plucked him out of poor Will's beleaguered household and sent him off to an Episcopalian boys' school, the junior adjunct of the University of the South...
[Page 12] In 1909 he left those familiar surroundings for the town of Tullahoma... [Frank, Judy's father]... lived in a small frame house on East Lincoln Street, half a block from St. Barnabas's Episcopal Church. In this new setting Frank's voice once again opened doors. He sang in the church choir, he joined a quartet that was much in demand for parties and weddings... [Page 14] Frank... was basically homosexual, and his advances to young men and teenage boys sometimes made him unwelcome in the town...
Clarke, pages 41-42:
Many people resented Ethel's obvious desire to say good-bye to Lancaster, to move Down Below where the action was. Frank [Judy's father], by contrast was admired as much in Lancaster as he had been everywhere else. Always most at home in small towns, he settled down to a comfortable routine... Sunday mornings were reserved for services at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where he sang in the choir.
Clarke, pages 58-59:
Frank's funeral was held Wednesday morning, November 20, in Glendale, at Forest Lawn's Little Church of the Flowers, which had been constructed, stone by stone, to resemble an English village church. Boyd Parker, the rector of St. Paul's in Lancaster, conducted the Episcopalian services, and many of Frank's former friends also traveled over the mountains--forgiving, now that he was dead, behavior they could not accept while he was living. [Judy Garland's father Frank, a homosexual, routinely had sex with teenage boys throughout the time he was married to Judy's mother.]
Clarke, page 399:
...in the spring of 1966 Judy and [Tom] Green became lovers... she was soon talking marriage. "If the captain of a ship can marry you," she asked in December 1966, as they were speeding east on the Super Chief, "why can't the engineer of a train?" Green could not think of a reason, and the engineer was pleased to preside over a mock wedding in the dining car.
Clarke, pages 416-417:
Arriving in Lowell, an industrial city twenty miles north of Boston, they acted, at any rate, as if they really were married. "You know, I get so tired of being Judy Garland," Judy told Green's conservative, Catholic family. "What I am is a very proper lady, and I'd just like to have that recognized." Worried that, as a Protestant with a bad reputation, she might not be welcome at Christmas Eve mass, she called the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Cushing himself, to ask if she could attend. "Of course," said the cardinal. "God loves everybody." Thus assured, Judy accompanied the Greens to midnight mass...
Despite a snag in their wedding plans--the papers certifynig Judy's divorce from Mark [Herron] had been held up in California--Judy and Mickey [Deans] decided to solemnize their love anyway... on the morning of January 9, they stood before the altar off St. Marylebone parish church, the Georgian building in which, more than a hundred years earlier, two other lovers, the poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, had also been united. [This is an Anglican church in London. Garland's denomination - Episcopalianism - is the American branch of the Anglican Communion.] "What about a witness?" Judy asked. "God is our witness," responded the young Anglican priest, Peter Delaney, who performed a full religious ceremony.
Clarke, page 108:
Rarely have song and singer been so ideally matched. Many other sings have had a signature song, but none has been so closely identified with a single number as Judy was to be with "Over the Rainbow." In the decades to come she was to joke about almost everything and everybody. But she never joked about, nor allowed anyone around her to joke, about "Over the Rainbow." That was her anthem, her sacred text, and it was safe from even her humor... About the making of The Wizard of Oz she would tell funny stories. But Oz, too, she regarded with an almost religious reverence... One and the same, actress and character, Judy and Dorothy, they were a symbol of grit and pluck, personification of faith and fortitude in the face of adversity.
Clarke, page 136:
Like the savage rites of the Aztecs, M-G-M's religion of beauty demanded human sacrifice--an offering of spirit if not blood. Judy, who was its most devout believer, also sacrificed the most: she surrendered her self-regard. What she never was to realize was that her faith in the gospel according to Louis B. Mayer was woefully misplaced. The god that was celebrated in Culver City--that is, the moviegoing public--did smile on the beautiful. But it reserved its special blessing for a still rarer bred, those lucky few, who, beautiful or not, could keep it entertained. On them it did not merely smile; it positively beamed, grinning with the crazy enthusiasm of first love. Judy belonged to that small and select group.
Clarke, pages 154-155:
"I want a home wedding," said Judy, "with bridesmaids and all the trimmings. I don't believe in silly elopements and since I only expect to be married once, both Dave and I consider it a very solemn occasion and we want a minister to officiate."
Judy Garland's lover Joe Mankiewicz was a devotee of Freudian psychoanalysis and introduced Judy to this pseudo-religion. Source: Clarke, page 181:
A little more than two weeks later... her mother gave a combination engagement and birthday party--Judy had just turned nineteen, [her fiance David] Rose, thirty-one...
The wedding itself was tentatively scheduled for late summer... But having started down the road to matrimony, Judy was eager to reach the end, and on the evening of Sunday, July 27... she and David decided to end the wait--they would say their vows that very night. A phone call brought Ethel and Will Gilmore [Judy's mother and step-father] hurrying to the restaurant, and all four were soon aboard a Western Air Lines flight bound for Las Vegas. There, at exactly one-twenty on Monday morning, in his office in the courthouse, Justice of the Peace Mahlon Brown said the words that made Judy and David husband and wife.
Who was Judy Garland? She did not know, and the answer to that quesion, Joe was convinced, could come only through psychoanalysis: she needed some time on the couch.
Judy Garland put forth her best efforts in psychanalysis, but ultimately she felt that the religion espoused by Freud failed to help her. Source, Clarke, pages 187-188:
For Joe, psychoanalysis was not merely therapy for disturbed minds; it was a religion, and no Catholic, going to mass every morning and saying fifty Hail Marys every night, could have been more devout. He himself was seeing an analyst; he had dispatched his wife, Rosa, to the Menninger Clinic in Kansas; and when their time came, he was to send his sons to analysts as well. "I was a nut about the potential value of psychotherapy and the study of the human psyche," he later admitted. Like any true believer, he probably exaggerated his faith's benefits, but Joe was nonetheless right, absolutely right, in urging psychotherapy on Judy. It did not require Sigmund Freud, or Joe Mankiewicz either, to conclude that there was something amiss with a pretty young woman who peered into the mirror and saw nothing but ugliness...
Joe probably advanced the idea of psychoanalysis to her as early as 1942, even before their affair began, and it was also then, most likely, that he introduced her to the eminent Dr. Karl Menninger, who was visiting from Kansas... at Menninger's recommendation, she began seeing Ernst Simmel, the dean of Southern California analysts and a confident of Freud himself. Unlike many of his colleagues in Southern California, the worst of whom were quacks and charlatans, the best of whom were often name-droppers and glory seekers, Simmel was a serious therapist with unassailable credentials. [Much more on this subject.]
Judy continued to see both Joe and her analyst, and neither her mother nor Mayer could think of a way to stop her... The decision to begin therapy thus marked a critical juncture for Judy, a moment of ripe possibility. She knew she was not in control of her life, and she seemd determined to find out why. Besides seeing Simmel [her analyst], she took Joe's advice and read the psychoanalytic pioneers--Freud, Jung and Adler [as if they were holy scripture]... She seemed to be strivin as hard as she could, and Joe, who had sacrificed his job rather than see her quit analysis, had good cause for optimism. Everything, in short, seemed to be going right, yet something was wrong, so wrong that in the end her therapy could only be termed a failure, the hopes invisted in it to be dismissed, as Joe was so aptly to phrase it, as the foolish fancies of an opium dream. When Judy was finally through with Freud and his disciples, she had benefited, as she was later to say, "not one bit."
Judy Garland really, really loved men. As Clarke's biography chronicles, during much of her life she was highly promiscuous. From Clarke, page 375:
Unlike other branches of the medical arts, psychoanalysis is an instimate collaboration between doctor and patient, equal partners in a common pursuit... Analysis will work its cure only if the patient is convinced it can work. Belief will not guarantee succes, but disbelief will guarantee failure. Encapsulating these requirements in a phrase, Carl Jung said that nothing less than "perfect sincerity" is demanded from those entering psychoanalysis.
In the obscure recesses of their hearts, Judy once wrote, all women realize--"know, know, know," she all but shouted--that the male must lead, the female must follow. That is the way it must be, she added, because women are by nature "dreadfully insecure" and they depend on men to provide their safety and security--even their meaning. "Don't yeild your leadership" was her plea to the opposite sex. "Don't hand us the reins." That was Judy's philosophy, her creed, her faith--her everything--and though her own experience had proved it wrong again and again, Judy continued to cling to it, like a religious fanatic whose eyes, turned to heaven, never stop searching for a miracle.
Clarke, page 381:
"I need to be needed," Judy confessed to one her lovers. "I need to be wanted."... For Judy, sex had an extra dimension: to give pleasure to a man was validation for her worth as a woman, as a human being even; it was the proof she required, ever and always, that she was something... That need to be needed was what made her so vulnerable to a predator like David Begelman. It was that need that sometimes caused her humiliation... the ranks of her lovers grew considerably in the sixties. [A long list follows.]
Many of Judy Garland's lovers and husbands were Jewish, including Sid Luft and David Begelman. From Clarke, page 376:
In many ways the two men now crowding her life were mirror images. Both were Jewish, with roots a few miles north of Manhattan, Begelman's in the borough of the Bronx, Sid's in the adjacent part of Westchester County.
Webpage created 24 June 2005. Last modified 24 June 2005.
We are always striving to increase the accuracy and usefulness of our website. We are happy to hear from you. Please submit questions, suggestions, comments, corrections, etc. to: email@example.com.