The daughter of screen legend Judy Garland inherited her singing and acting talent — as well as her battle with drug addiction.
Lorna Luft, whose parents were Garland and producer Sid Luft, sat down with Australia’s Studio 10 for an interview about growing up in a famous family, where her mother’s infamous troubles with addiction eventually led to her death in 1969.
“I do think my mother was a victim of the studio system,” she said. “But it also gave her the ability to channel her talent to all of us. It was a real double-edged sword.”
While the 64-year-old said their house was always filled with celebrities when she was growing up — she recalls referring to Frank Sinatra as her “uncle” and thinking nothing of it — there was also a darker side to life with her famous mother.
“The highs were incredibly high, but the lows were devastating,” she said.
Luft said she was very aware of Garland’s issues and even revealed in her 1998 book, Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir, that she would switch out her mother’s prescription pills for sugar.
“I was taught how to do that by my dad,” she shared. “It wasn’t unusual because when you have a parent who’s teaching you how to take care of your other parent, that’s what you do. You don’t think there’s anything odd about this.”
Luft fell victim to addiction herself, recalling doing cocaine and thinking it was not the same situation that Garland went through.
“Somebody came up to me and said, ‘Do you not think that maybe you’re doing the same that your mom did?’ And I said, ‘Oh, no no no. She had a problem. I only do it at night,’ ” she admitted. “Stupid.”
After realizing she wanted a child and that she was “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,” Luft sought help at the Betty Ford Center.
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After years of avoiding “any song that had the word ‘rainbow,’ ” Luft began to embrace her mother’s memory, singing the songs Garland made famous whenever Luft when on tour.
Luft said of her mother, “She is on my shoulder every single day, watching over me.”
Luft also dispelled rumors that she and her half-sister Liza Minnelli, from Garland’s previous marriage to director Vincente Minnelli, continue to have a tumultuous relationship.
“We’re sisters, we’re going to have different opinions on different things,” she said, adding, “My sister and I always find our way back to one another no matter what comes into being.”