Read Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir Online
Authors: Lorna Luft
Tags: #Biographies & Memoirs, #Arts & Literature, #Actors & Entertainers, #Composers & Musicians, #Television Performers, #Leaders & Notable People, #Rich & Famous, #Memoirs, #Specific Groups, #Women, #Humor & Entertainment
THE CRITICS RAVE ABOUT
ME AND MY SHADOWS
“The most eagerly awaited biography of the season.”
“A loving memory of growing up in a dysfunctional household.”
—New York Post
“Entertaining…a clear-eyed but loving account of the adored mother she lost.”
—Dallas Morning News
“Other biographies have documented Garland’s spectacular descent, but this is the first view from inside the tornado.…Harrowing.”
“The first gripping, factual account of the life and times of the late, great Judy Garland and her children.”
“Candid and…moving. The author’s matter-of-fact reportage…makes the harrowing episodes all the more believable—and tragic.”
“Breathless…a movie fan’s parfait.”
ME AND MY SHADOWS
“Revealing. . . . No details are spared.”
“Insightful . . . a legitimate story of redemption.”
“Heartwarming. . . . Written without venom, only sincerity, and love and humor. [Luft’s] book is filled with courage.”
“An insider’s look at the rich and famous.”
—Rocky Mountain News
“Luft . . . steps into center stage to describe what life was like as the child of an icon . . . fascinating reading.”
“An honest memoir about growing up in the shadow of a superstar mom.”
“An inside portrait of what it’s like to be Judy Garland’s daughter.”
—(Long Beach, CA)
“A behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood in its heyday.”
“Lorna Luft chronicles—in heartbreaking detail—growing up on the dark side of the rainbow.”
—Philadelphia Gay News
“An unvarnished portrait of her family. . . . This time out, it’s Lorna Luft’s turn to take the bows.”
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© Phil Stern
Our family Christmas card from 1956, with all of us in front of our house on Mapleton Drive.
© Bob Collins
Me, Joey, Mama, and Liza in London, 1960.
My mother and father
My husband Colin for showing me the meaning of unconditional love
My children, Jesse Cole and Vanessa Jade—you are my world
Collection of John Fricke
Mama, John Bubbles, Joey, and me performing “Me and My Shadow” at the legendary Palace Theatre, 1967.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOLMBY HILLS
Liza me, and Mama in 1953.
Photo by John Engstead/Collection of John Fricke
here’s a scene at the beginning of
where Peter returns to Wendy’s room in the middle of the night to find his shadow, which he’d accidentally left behind the night before. As Mary Martin played the role, Peter flinches painfully as Wendy sews his shadow back on with a needle and thread. Peter, it seems, isn’t comfortable flying without his shadow.
Mine has been the opposite problem. I have spent much of my adult life flinching with pain as I tried to pull out the threads that bound the shadows of my past to me. The biggest shadow has been my mother. To this day, people come up to me as I leave the stage after a performance and tell me that they saw my mother onstage with me every time they heard me sing. I try to keep a sense of humor about it and pass off the remark with a wisecrack. “Was she up there again? You just can’t drag Mama off a stage.” But the truth is it’s difficult to live your life haunted by the ghosts of the past.
It has taken me twenty-eight years to come to terms with the fact that the mother I loved so much left me too soon, taken by a disease that I did not understand. It’s hard for me to put into words the irony of being unable to escape my mother’s presence while feeling her absence so painfully. In one sense, she’s everywhere I
turn, but in another, her absence has been agonizing. It hasn’t been easy at times, but if there’s one thing I learned at the Betty Ford Center, it’s that it doesn’t matter whether or not your mother is a Hollywood legend. The pain of having a parent who is held captive by prescription drugs or alcohol is the same for everyone. That knowledge has proven deeply healing for me. It has allowed me to let go of the pain and finally move on with my life.
People are always asking me what it’s like to be Judy Garland’s daughter. How do you answer a question like that? For the most part, my answer is the same as anyone else’s about a parent: it’s been wonderful, and terrible, and everything in between. But it’s been different, too. Very different. Most people haven’t attended a convention where most of the crowd, male and female alike, is dressed like your mother, who died thirty years ago. From
it seems as though my mother’s image pops up every time I turn around. If you don’t believe me, type in my mother’s name in your Internet search engine and see what comes up. You’ll be flooded with web sites created by the Garland faithful.