I watched Judy, the Academy Award winning vehicle for Renee Zelwegger, Friday night. The actress won an Oscar last weekend for a film that no one I knew had seen.

Renee Zelwegger’s Oscar winning turn as Judy Garland

My husband and I watched Judy on Valentine’s Day, ‘cause that’s what you get when you let your gay husband pick the film for Valentine’s Day. I get the remote today, for the Wisconsin and Michigan State games.

While handing Rob the remote is sometimes a regrettable decision, he knocked it out of the park last night. Judy, about the final years of Hollywood legend Judy Garland’s life, is a remarkable film featuring a eerily accurate portrayal of the icon by Zelwegger. She earned that Oscar, even singing Garland’s songs live on set in lieu of lip syncing, and nailing the final song. You can probably guess which tune it is.

Zelwegger broke my heart in Judy, and I awoke the next morning with a newfound appreciation for Garland. My knowledge of the legend had been largely limited to “Over The Rainbow” and The Wizard Of Oz from her adolescence — she was only 16 years old when she filmed that one — but Zelwegger and director Rupert Goold taught me that Garland was ever so much more.

So the morning after seeing Judy, I streamed some of Garland’s music. I’d always heard that Barbra Streisand took over where Garland left off when she died in 1968, but I never heard that. As I listen to Garland this morning, I’m left feeling she could have sung rings around Streisand, but the arch of her voice and career remind me of a diva who would take the world by storm a generation after Garland’s died, Whitney Houston.

Both Garland and Houston burst onto the music scene very young, both struggled with substances, and neither could make marriage work. Both had staggering vibratos and stunning, multi octave voices, while both were most effective in the middle of their vocal ranges.

And there was a plaintive nature to both Garland’s and Houston’s best work, always a longing for something that seemed perpetually beyond reach.

Both of them gave everything they had while they were here, and as I’m reminded of this morning, thanks to Apple Music, Houston joined Garland as one of the 20th century’s greatest voices. I hope both Garland’s and Houston’s souls are at rest.

I’m lying in bed on a sunny Saturday morning, writing about Judy Garland and Whitney Houston while streaming Garland’s music. As I type this, I’m listening to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

I can hear Rob now…

Who’s the gay husband?

When’s is that Wisconsin game on???

Published by Michael P Coleman

Freelance writer. I used to talk to strangers and get punished. Now I talk to strangers and get published.

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