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About Judy Garland Actress and singer. Born on Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Judy Garland, the star of many classic musical films, was known for her tremendous talent and troubled life. She started out in show business at an early age. The daughter of vaudeville professionals, she started her stage career as a child.

Judy Garland was called "Baby Gumm" and sang "Jingle Bells" at her first public performance at age of two and a half. With her two older sisters, Susie and Jimmie, Garland soon began performing as part of the Gumm Sisters.

In 1926, the Gumm family moved to California where Garland and her sisters studied acting and dancing. They played numerous gigs that their mother Ethel had arranged for them as their manager and agent. In the late 1920s, the Gumm sisters also appeared in several short films.

The Gumm sisters transformed into the Garland sisters at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1934. Traveling with their mother, the sisters played at a theater with comedian George Jessel who reportedly suggested they become the Garland sisters. Garland shed her nickname "Baby" in favor of a more mature and vibrant Judy. The following year, she would become a solo act, signing a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13. It was on a radio broadcast that November, however, that Garland debuted one of the songs most closely associated with her, "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart." Shortly after the program aired, Garland suffered a great personal loss when her father Frank died of spinal meningitis.

Despite her personal anguish, Garland continued on her path to film stardom. One of her first feature film roles was in Pigskin Parade (1936). Playing a girl-next-door type of role, Garland went on to co-star in Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) with friend Mickey Rooney. The two proved to be a popular pairing, and they co-starred in several more Andy Hardy films.

Not only was she working a lot, Garland was under pressure from the studio about her looks and her weight. She was given amphetamines to boost her energy and control her weight. Unfortunately, Garland would soon become reliant on this medication as well as needing to take something else to help her sleep. Drug problems would plague her throughout her career.

In 1939, Garland scored one of her greatest on-screen successes with The Wizard of Oz (1939), which showcased her singing talents as well as her acting abilities. Garland received a special Academy Award for her portrayal of Dorothy, the girl from Kansas transported to Oz. She soon made several more musicals, including Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes of Broadway (1942) with Mickey Rooney, and For Me and My Gal (1943) with Gene Kelly.

Garland married for the first time at the age of 19. Her union with bandleader David Rose was decidedly short-lived, however. On the set of Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), another of Garland's signature films, she met director Vincent Minnelli. She officially divorced Rose in 1945 and soon wed Minnelli. The couple also welcomed a daughter, Liza, in 1946. Unfortunately, Garland's second marriage only lasted a little longer than her first. The Garland-Minnelli union was practically over by 1949 (they officially divorced in 1952).

About Barbara Streisand Born Barbra Joan Streisand on April 24, 1942 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Diana Rosen and Emanuel Streisand. Streisand's father was a high school English teacher who died from complications of an epileptic seizure when Barbra was only 15 months old. Her mother raised Barbra and her older brother, Sheldon, by working as a secretary in the New York City public school system. Her mother remarried in the late 1940s to Louis Kind, a used-car salesman, while Streisand was away at camp. Streisand was unaware of the second marriage, or that her mother was pregnant. Streisand's half-sister, Rosalind, was born in 1952.

Streisand has described her childhood as painful. She was shy as a child, and often felt rejected by other children because her looks were unusual. Additionally, she saw her stepfather as emotionally abusive. She also found no support from her mother, who thought her too unattractive to pursue her dreams of show business.

As a child, Streisand attended Bais Yakov School, where she sang in the school choir. Following elementary school, Streisand was a student at Erasmus Hall High School where she met future collaborator, Neil Diamond. Even before Barbra graduated from high school, she was traveling to New York City to study acting. At the age of 15, she met Anita and Alan Miller at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village. Streisand negotiated a deal with the couple; she would babysit for their children in exchange for a scholarship to Alan's acting school. It was one of two she simultaneously attended. She graduated from Erasmus High in 1959 at the age of 16. She was fourth in her class.

Streisand never attended college. She moved to New York City in 1960 instead, months after graduating from high school. There, she shared several apartments with friends, including one with actor Elliot Gould, who she wed in 1963. They were married for eight years. Together the couple had one child, Jason.

While working office jobs and attending acting lessons, Streisand was encouraged to enter a talent night at a local club. She had never taken a singing lesson before. The evening was a resounding success, and she soon embarked on a career as a cabaret singer, dropping the middle "a" from her name so that it would stand out. Her vibrant soprano soon won Streisand a loyal audience at local clubs, such as the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel.

She claims that she learned how to cover her insecurity on stage by studying the flamboyance of the drag queens she met during this time. Still, Streisand is infamous for having avoided live performances for nearly three decades due to a debilitating bout of stage fright. She attributes the phobia to a concert in New York's Central Park in 1967, during which she forgot the lyrics to one of her songs.

Streisand made her major debut in the Broadway show, I Can Get it For You Wholesale in 1962. She won the New York Drama Critics Award and received a Tony nomination for her performance; the cast album for that show was her first studio recording. Streisand signed with Columbia Records that same year and released her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album in 1963. It became a Top 10 gold record and received two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. At the time, she was the youngest artist to receive the honor.

In 1965, Streisand turned to television with My Name is Barbra. The show received five Emmy Awards, and CBS Television awarded Streisand a 10-year contract to produce and star in more TV specials. Streisand was given complete artistic control of the next four network productions.

Streisand reprised her role in Funny Girl in 1966 in London at the Prince of Wales Theater. Two years later she made her big-screen debut in the film version of the play. In addition to winning the 1968 Academy Award for her performance, she won a Golden Globe and was named "Star of the Year " by the National Association of Theater Owners.

After appearing in the films Hello, Dolly! (1969) and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), Streisand starred in the non-musical comedy, The Owl and the Pussycat (1970). The year 1972 brought another comedy, What's Up Doc? The same year Streisand founded her own production company, Barwood Films, and starred in the company's first project, Up the Sandbox. The film became one of the first American movies to deal with the growing women's movement.

In the 1970s, Barbra Streisand successfully married her film and musical interests; first with the hit film The Way We Were, which featured her first No. 1 single and earned her a 1973 Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 1976 came A Star is Born, a film that Streisand produced. The project won six Golden Globes and offered Streisand her second No.1 single, "Evergreen." From that point forward, every album Streisand released sold at least 1 million copies.

In the late 1970s, Streisand collaborated with former high school choir mate Neil Diamond on the song, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." The single went to No. 1, as did "No More Tears (Enough is Enough)," a dance record sung with Donna Summer. But Streisand had her biggest-selling album in 1980 with Guilty, which was written and produced by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees and contained the No. 1 hit, "Woman in Love."

Though she read Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story, "Yentl, The Yeshiva Boy" shortly after her first film in 1968, it was only after 15 years of perseverance that Streisand was able to bring the story to screen. In her 1983 directorial debut, the film received five Academy Award nominations, and Streisand received Golden Globe Awards as both Best Director and producer of the Best Picture (musical comedy). The film also produced a Top 10 soundtrack.

In 1985, The Broadway Album returned Barbra Streisand to the top of the charts. Continuing to integrate all of her talents, in 1987, Streisand followed up Yentl with Nuts. She not only starred in the film, but also produced and wrote the music. For her second directorial outing in 1991, Streisand made the movie Prince of Tides, a story based on the Pat Conroy novel. The film garnered seven Academy Award nominations and a nomination from the Directors Guild of America for her direction, making her only the third woman ever so honored. In 1996, Streisand tried her hand at direction again with the film, The Mirror Has Two Faces.

About Ethel Merman Actress and singer. Born on January 16, 1909 in Astoria, New York, USA, Ethel Merman is best known as gutsy, powerful musical comedy performer and remembered for her brassy style and powerful mezzo-soprano voice.

Merman worked as a secretary before making her stage debut in George and Ira Gershwin's Girl Crazy (1930). In the 1930s she made her first Hollywood appearance and also starred in her own radio show. A Broadway favorite, she had showstopping, successful performances in Anything Goes (1934), Red, Hot and Blie (1936), Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Call Me Madam (1950), and Gypsy (1959).

Ethel Merman also appeared in the successful Hollywood film, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and appeared on numerous televsion shows.

She was married and divorced four times, including a 32-day marriage to actor Ernest Borgnine All biographies © 2011 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved

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