Lorna Luft Celebrates Legacy of Mother, Judy Garland
Lorna Luft Celebrates Legacy of Mother, Judy Garland

The singer and actress Judy Garland left a body of films and popular music that her fans, and her family, still celebrate.  Garland died in 1969.  Her daughter Lorna Luft struggled with the loss, but that today she is working to keep her mother's legacy alive.

Judy Garland was a multi-talented performer - first known for her childhood role as Dorothy in the 1939 classic fantasy film, "The Wizard of Oz." Garland became a Hollywood icon in later films, such as "A Star is Born."  And she was a popular stage and television performer, with hits like "Chicago."

Garland had two daughters and a son.  Both daughters followed her into show business.

Liza Minnelli, born to Garland and her second husband, director Vincente Minnelli, became a major star and won an Oscar for her role in the 1972 film "Cabaret."

Lorna Luft Celebrates Legacy of Mother, Judy Garla
Lorna Luft Celebrates Legacy of Mother, Judy Garland

Daughter Lorna Luft, born to Garland and her third husband, Sid Luft, celebrates her mother in a stage show and album called "Songs My Mother Taught Me" in which she offers her renditions of her mother's music.

Judy Garland struggled with poor health, brought on by her abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs.  Luft chronicled her mother's troubled life in a 1998 book called "Me and My Shadows."  Luft was a teenager when her mother died at age 47 from what a coroner ruled was an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

Luft has been performing since an early age.  But she explains that it took years to come to terms with the loss of her mother.

"In your 40s, I think you're able to really look back and think to yourself, 'Where did it all start and how to I tell my children?'  And that's what happened to me," she said. "I never sang any of my mom's songs until I was in my 40s.  It was too painful.  It was too hard.  I ran away from my legacy for so long because it was painful because she wasn't there."

Today, Luft is 57-years-old.  On stage and on her album, she recalls telling her children about a grandmother they have never known.

"You would have liked her.  Momma did things no one had done.  Momma was funny, Momma was fun.  Momma spent money when she had none."

Judy Garland had five marriages and a turbulent life.  But Luft says her mother's problems paled in comparison to her contributions as an entertainer.

"My mother's art stands for itself," she said.  "My mother was an incredible force and her movies will be with us long, long after we're all gone.  Her recordings will go on.  Her television shows will be seen.  So that's the part of my mother that is an extraordinary gift."

Luft tells young people who are fans of Britney Spears or Mariah Carey to look back to the superstar who set the standard - her mother, Judy Garland.