Garland’s fame in the Forties was astronomical. She sang, danced and acted. Her multi-talents brought Judy a juvenile Oscar for ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and a Best Actress Oscar nomination for ‘A Star is Born’. She had her own TV show called ‘The Judy Garland Show’, and she became the first woman to win an Album of the Year Grammy for her live recording, ‘Judy at Carnegie Hall’. In 1999, she was named one of the 10 greatest female stars of classic American cinema.
Judy Garland was not Vincente’s last wife, but she was his first. He married three other women, the last of whom, Lee Minnelli, resided in his former mansion until her death.
Working at the Chicago Theater presented opportunity for the young Vincente. It merged with a national chain that included Paramount-Publix theaters, which found him assigned to work on shows in NYC. Soon, he moved to Greenwich Village and landed a gig at Radio City Music Hall.
For the Shubert’s, the founding family of Broadway, he presented his first play, 'At Home Abroad'. The well-received production ran for two years. His plays were continually warmly received, and by 1940, MGM producer Arthur Freed invited him to try his hand at film.
His first MGM film was called 'Cabin in the Sky' (1943). In 1944, he released 'Meet Me in St. Louis', starring Judy Garland. Vincente fell in love with the famed darling Dorothy of 'The Wizard of Oz', although they had first met in 1940. Their courtship led to marriage in June of 1945. The pair would continue to collaborate on films.
Over the course of his life, Vincente married four times. Indeed, he tied the knot with his first wife, accomplished actress and singer Judy Garland, on June 15, 1945. Like her husband, Garland was involved in many movies throughout her career. She received considerable recognition for her work, too, picking up a Golden Globe and Special Tony, among other awards. The star is perhaps best known, however, for her role as Dorothy in 1939’s 'The Wizard of Oz', for which she earned a Juvenile Oscar.
A year after Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland married, a star was born. The Hollywood couple’s first and only child, Liza Minnelli, arrived on March 12, 1946. She would grow up to win an Oscar, like her parents, for her 1972 role in 'Cabaret'.
Her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice, nurtured as a child at home by the best of the best, graces many recordings and is remembered for concerts at Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. Her tours with Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. are also recalled fondly.
Garland and Vincente’s ill-fated marriage ended in 1951. Little Liza was turning five. As time went on, Vincente’s secret gay lifestyle seeped out of the closet. Garland caught him cheating on her with another man. It’s believed that Garland’s substance abuse and depression, two attempted suicides, and then divorce, were linked to those revelations.
She struggled with the demands of fame and industry pressures on personal appearance. During that time, she was also dropped from her contract with MGM due to her personal struggles. In 1969, she succumbed to an overdose; she was 47.