Former US President Kennedy used to ring Wizard of Oz star Judy Garland and ask her to sing to him, according to the star’s husband.
Kennedy was president from 1961 until his death in 1963. He was one of the most powerful men in the free world, and his decisions impacted on millions of people in the US and beyond.
So it is no surprise that JFK needed to unwind every now and then, and during his downtime he would often phone his friend Garland to request a rendition of one of her most famous songs.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow was reportedly the song JFK would ask Garland to perform for him over the telephone.
That is according to notes made by Garland’s third husband, Sid Luft. These notes have been turned into a book; Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland.
Tuft, who died in 2005, wrote that Kennedy first met Garland when he was a junior senator in Massachusetts.
Peter and Patricia Lawford, Kennedy’s sister, were mutual friends and introduced the pair. They struck up a lasting friendship.
Tuft continued: “In the coming years, JFK would ring Judy from either the White House or Camp David and ask her to sing to him over the telephone.
“He’d request ‘Over the Rainbow,’ Judy was located somewhere in New York and obliged the President with several renditions of his favourite melodies.”
Tuft also revealed some of the parties that took place at the time.
“It was at the Lawford’s beach house that I was introduced to grass.
“The scenes at the Lawford’s were heady – at times Jack was there or Teddy or some other member of the Kennedy clan. Peter knew damn well if he brought girls around, Jack would take over. He’d steal any girl in sight.”
Tuft’s notes also revealed a darker side in the life of his wife Garland. He claims she was abused by the actors playing the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz, when she was just 16.
He said: “They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small. They would make Judy’s life miserable on set by putting their hands under her dress. The men were 40 or more years old.”
The role of Dorothy turned Garland into a Hollywood star, but the pressures of life in the public eye took their toll, and she became addicted to prescription drugs, eventually dying of an overdose aged just 47.
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