9 Vintage Hollywood Scandals That Reveal Tinseltown’s Ugly Side

Published May 11, 2021
Updated May 21, 2024

Judy Garland’s Studio-Enforced Diet Of Cigarettes And Amphetamines

Watching Dorothy dance in The Wizard of Oz you’d never guess the kind of hardship that Judy Garland, the actress who played Dorothy, was put through by the studio’s executives.

Judy Garland In The Wizard Of Oz

Wikimedia CommonsEven Judy Garland couldn’t escape Hollywood scandal.

Garland was only 13 years old when she auditioned for the film producer and co-founder of MGM, Louis B. Mayer. It seemed like a lucky break, but for Garland, it turned into a nightmare.

Just a year later, when Garland was 14 years old and about to star in her first feature film, MGM started bullying Garland into losing weight. The studio was so successful in brainwashing Garland that she ended up referring to herself as a “fat little frightening pig with pigtails.”

Garland was put on a strict diet of chicken soup and black coffee which she supplemented with cigarettes and diet pills.

Meanwhile, the much older studio executives sexually harassed her. According to Garland, Mayer would tell her that she had a beautiful voice that came from the heart. As he said so, he’d put his hand on her left breast.

“I often thought I was lucky,” Garland later remarked, “that I didn’t sing with another part of my anatomy.”

It is thus not at all surprising that Mayer’s treatment left the star with an eating disorder and a drug addiction that lasted all her life.

In the end, Judy Garland died of a drug overdose at just 47 in 1969.

Laura Martisiute
Laura Martisiute is a freelance writer based in Tramore, Ireland. In her spare time, she likes to explore secret beaches, pet cats, and read.
Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
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Martisiute, Laura. "9 Vintage Hollywood Scandals That Reveal Tinseltown’s Ugly Side." AllThatsInteresting.com, May 11, 2021, https://allthatsinteresting.com/vintage-hollywood-scandals. Accessed June 22, 2024.