Lorna Luft is an American television, film and stage actress who happens to be the daughter of Judy Garland, a controversial movie star who succumbed to drugs and alcohol, destroying her career and life in the process. Lorna wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps into the show business and she started prepping up from her very early days and appeared in her very first Broadway musical in 1971 with ‘Promises, Promises’. And right after that, it was hard to stop her. She was loud, expressive and amazingly talented. This helped her become one of the most in-demand stage actors back in the 70s and the 80s and during the free time, she kept herself busy appearing on Television and the big screen. She made her feature film debut with ‘I could Go on Singing’ in 1982 and along with that, she also tried her hand in singing and has released about a dozen singles. She was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012, and got cured o it in 2013, but in 2015, it re-emerged and Lorna underwent treatment for it.
Childhood & Early Life
Lorna Luft was born in California on November 21, 1952 to a famous performer Judy Garland and her producer husband Sidney Luft. They lived in Bel Air, in very ideal circumstances and her mother was in the prime of her career when Lorna was born and their father was also earning more than enough to take care of the family. However, as she grew up, she became aware her mother’s depression.
Judy was chronically depressed and took drugs to calm her down and Sidney was fed up of it. As a result of all this, the couple finally divorced. By that time, Lorna was 12 and she knew that her mother was a ‘troubled’ person, so she took as much care of her as she could. She made sure that her mother was eating properly, and taking medicines on time among other things. However, there also came a time when her mother stopped showing any signs of improvement and Lorna had to go back to her father. Judy died sometime later, of drug overdose.
Mother’s death saddened Lorna to a degree that she had a nervous breakdown. She felt guilty about leaving her midway through her struggles and went into depression, barely completing her education at University High School in Los Angeles. To divert her mind from her mother’s sad demise, she joined the school choir as she always wanted to make a career in the performing arts.
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Lorna Luft’s mother was well-known for ‘The Judy Garland Show’ and Lorna’s first tryst with the show business happened with an appearance on the show. She was in awe of all those camera and lights and decided to walk on her mother’s footsteps as far as career was concerned. She was a teen at that time and in 1967, Lorna appeared in her mother’s Broadway show titled ‘At Home at Palace’, where both of them sang duets, hypnotizing the audience. Sadly though, it turned out to be their first and last performance together as Judy died two years later in 1969.
Two years later after her mother’s demise Lorna made her Broadway debut with ‘Promises, Promises’ in 1971. This play was adopted from a popular Billy Wilder film of 1960 titled ‘The Apartment’ and was performed at the Shubert Theatre. The theatre life resonated with Lorna and she used it to get over the trauma of death of her mother.
In the early 80s Lorna appeared in national tour of the Broadway ‘They are Playing our Song’ and in the very next year she made her film debut with ‘Grease 2’, a musical romantic comedy film. Her professional life blossomed during the eighties as she was constantly getting offered the best of the shows. She followed up with ‘Extremities’, the play and an off-Broadway production of ‘Snoopy!’ A tryst with television happened in the mid-80s in form of ‘Trapper John! M.D’ in the final episode and later in 1985, she also had a guest appearance in ‘Murder, she Wrote!’
Throughout early 90s, she kept herself engaged in ‘Guys and Dolls’, while touring around with it, and receiving applauds. She was getting known as one of the very few performers who could act and sing exceptionally well, while having a very solid stage presence.
At the turn of the century, she appeared in ‘Gypsy’, for which the University of Richmond School invited her to be a part of the cast. In the mid 2000s, she was seen in a musical adapted from the film ‘White Christmas’ and toured around with it in many different cities across US and UK.
In 2009, she toured with the acclaimed ‘Pack of Lies’ and her performance as Helen Kroger was met with instant acclaim and she also appeared in ‘Follies’ with her performance getting praised.
In between her Broadways and stage shows, she kept working in films and TV shows and appeared in some of her most well-known projects such as ‘Where the Boys are ‘84’, ‘My Giant’ and ‘54’ and she also made guest appearances in TV shows such as ‘The Nanny’ and ‘Caroline in the City’.
Remembering her mother, Lorna recorded a music CD titled ‘Lorna Luft: Songs my Mother Taught Me’ in 2007, released by her husband, Colin Freeman. Before the release of her music CD, she had toured with the show ‘The Songs my Mother Taught Me’. She has also provided background vocals to many songs.
Personal Life & Illness
Lorna Luft wanted to share the relationship she had with her mother, and for that, she wrote a book titled ‘Me and My Shadow: A Family Memoir’ which was released in 1998. Lorna said that it was a way to get the pain of losing her mother out of her head. But her father opposed the book and said openly that it was just a whole bunch of lies. And later, when the book was turned into a miniseries, he became even more furious.
Lorna found out that she had a lump in her breast in December 2012 and went into denial about that, eventually getting it checked out. Upon knowing about the breast cancer, she went for the treatment and was cured of it by mid-2013 after going through a series of radiation and chemotherapy sessions. But later in 2015, the cancer re-emerged and Lorna underwent surgery for that.
Lorna has married twice. She first got married with musician John Hooker, and had two children, Jesse and Vanessa, with him. The couple, however, later separated. She got married again in 1996 to Colin Freeman, and they both are leading a very happy life together. Lorna makes her time between UK and Los Angeles while taking care of her family.
She also had a rocky relationship with her half-sister Liza Minnelli, which made headlines quite a lot of times.