June 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Frances Gumm was born into the vaudeville family of Frank and Ethel Gumm. The Gumms who already had name in the vaudevillian circuit with their older daughters soon added little Frances to their shows at the age of 2, in the dance act entitled ‘The Gumm Sisters’, which included her two older sisters Mary Jane Gumm and Virginia Gumm.
It was only when she repeatedly sang ‘Jingle Bells’ and had to be dragged off the stage kicking and screaming by her maternal grandmother Eva Milne that her mother Ethel could see her youngest daughter was going to be the biggest star. Baby Frances’ childhood was extremely unhappy as she spent most of it on the road with her mother and sisters looking for nightclubs and hotels to perform in, often living out of their rented automobile. In 1927, Baby Frances and her family moved to Lancaster, California having been run out of Grand Rapids due to her father’s homosexuality and sexual advances on teenage boys.
In 1932, Baby Frances left Lancaster and her father behind for a new life in Los Angeles with her mother and sisters where, yet again, there were practically living out of their automobile. Eventually in 1933 her father joined them and in September 1935, Frances signed a contract with leading film studio MGM at the age of 13 after singing before movie mogul Louis B. Mayer. She changed her name to Judy Garland, her surname after film critic Robert Garland and her first name after the song ‘Judy’. And from there as they say, it’s History!