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Judy Garland's former lover 'always knew' she would die young

Judy Garland died in 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday credit:Bang Showbiz
Judy Garland died in 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday credit:Bang Showbiz

Judy Garland's former lover "wasn't surprised" when she died young.

The legendary Hollywood actress - who achieved global fame through her role as Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz' but struggled with addiction in the years that followed - passed away at the age of 47 in 1969 after taking an accidental overdose of barbiturates.

Judy briefly dated pianist John Meyer - who died in February at the age of 86 - for a period of time in 1966 and now his close friend and historian Lawrence Schulman has claimed that "a lot of people " were sure that an early death was on the cards for her.

Lawrence told Fox News Digital: "John and I, and a lot of other people, were in no way surprised. Everyone knew it was coming. If you look at pictures of Judy at the end of her life, she looks like someone who has come out of a concentration camp. She was so thin, so frail, so undernourished. The life was already gone in the months before she died. So, no. No one was surprised ."

In the years leading up to John's death, Lawrence received a series of "intimate" letters from John and admitted that whilst his friend only knew Judy for a brief period of time, those two months were some of the "most significant" of his life and insisted that he did "love" the screen icon.

Lawrence explained: "He sent these very intimate thoughts to me about Judy and his reflections about Judy all these years later. These letters left a mark on me. He knew Garland for only two months in late ’68. That’s not a long time to know somebody. It takes a long time to get to know somebody. But I know John loved Garland.

"I don’t know whether it was reciprocal. That’s an open question. I never talked about that with John because it’s not a nice thing to talk about. … But when you have a passion for somebody, it doesn’t matter whether it lasts two months, two years, or 20 years. It sticks with you. And those two months were some of the most essential moments of his life."

Judy was initially married to composer David Rose from 1941 until 1944, and then to director Vincente Minnelli - with whom she had daughter Liza Minnelli - from 1944 until 1951 but also had Lorna, 71, and Joey, 68, with third husband Sid Luft, whom she divorced in 1965.

Just before dating John, the 'Meet Me in St. Louis' star had divorced Mark Herron and would go on to tie the knot with Mickey Deans in March 1969, but the marriage ended with her death in June of that year.