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Judy's stamp of
approval

Judy's stamp of
approval

Luft

Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft talks about her mom's new U.S. postage stamp--being unveiled June 10--and her family's long connection to the fight for LGBT equality. It's not a rainbow flag for nothing!

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On June 9--the day before the dedication ceremony for the new Judy Garland postage stamp in New York City at Carnegie Hall--The Advocate talked with Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft. A staunch supporter of same-sex marriage and a knockout performer in her own right, Luft has a biographical show, Songs My Mother Taught Me, an evening of music, memories, and the roller-coaster ride of being Garland's kid. She wrote the best-selling book Me and My Shadows: Living With the Legacy of Judy Garland, which ABC turned into an award-winning four-hour television miniseries. Luft served as co-executive producer, alongside out producers Craig Zadan and Neal Meron. Spanning Garland's life from the 1930s until her death, Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows was a ratings smash.

We're sure the Judy Garland stamp will be a similar success.

The Advocate: I've never been to a postage stamp dedication.Lorna Luft: Oh, but I have! I went to the dedication for the Hattie McDaniel stamp. [The ceremonies] are all different. I went to the Hank Mancini one. It all depends on what the family wants. I worked on this stamp. I worked with the artist on the image, on making sure that the color of her hair didn't match the background. That the signature was the right signature--so that the whole thing looked really first-class.

Were there other images considered? Like Dorothy? Well, you see, there was a Dorothy stamp a couple of years ago. And it's just my opinion, but it seems pretty amazing that somebody gets two stamps.

I know, it's like, what's next? Money? Exactly! It's such an honor because it's the 12th in a line of legendary stamps. The cool thing is that the ceremony is going to be on her birthday.

What will happen at the ceremony? First they'll show eight or nine minutes of film clips from her movie career, then Robert Osborne will come out and introduce [out playwright] Terrence McNally. Jane Powell will be there and Dick Cavett. They will talk about her and how they knew her and worked with her and what she was like as an artist. Then we will unveil the stamp, which is a really big deal. There'll be my brother [Joey Luft], myself, and my children on stage, and we pull the cord the [drape] falls down and there it is! The performers will be myself, Michael Feinstein, Diane Schuur, and Rufus Wainwright.

Wow. Speaking of Rufus, what do you think about Rufus doing the Judy Garland tribute concert at Carnegie Hall? I think he's coming from all the right places. He's coming out of love, and he's coming out of doing it as a tribute. He's coming out of respect, and he's wanting to do this the right way. I have no problem with anybody who comes out and does something with love and respect. It's the people who mock and come out of disrepect I have a problem with. She was everybody's legend, but she was my mother.

Do you get a bundle of stamps? Are there any perks here?[Laughs] Are there any swag bags, you mean? I think we get the first-day edition, which is cool. The people who come to the event get the first edition that night, but it won't go into the post office until that Monday. For the collectors that's a really big deal.

OK, now some questions about you. Is it true you sang backup for Blondie? I did! Deborah Harry and I are friends, and she's a really talented girl. She was being produced by someone who was going to produce my album. It was something I had a great time doing.

When is Where the Boys Are '84 going to come out on DVD? [Laughs] I don't know. Grease 2 is out there, and it's a cult hit. It's a silly little movie that we had a great time making.

At what point, as you were growing up, did you become aware of your mother's gay following? I was pretty much in my teens and then as an adult. You know when I was in my 20s and I was doing Guys and Dolls I did an interview with The Advocate, and they started to ask me about Stonewall, and I promise you I had no clue about what they were talking about. They said, "What do you think of Stonewall?" And I said, "Jackson?" They explained it to me [that the 1969 Stonewall riots began after a Judy Garland memorial service] and I told them that I went to my mom's funeral. I had to bury a parent. It was one of the saddest nights of my life, and I didn't know anything else was happening.

It must have been like a blackout. Now that I have gone back and looked at the history and talked to people more, I think, How appropriate. That people got angry and that people stood up for their rights. People rioted in the street because they had had enough. My mother was a huge, huge advocate of human rights, so I think that was sort of appropriate.

Your Web site is great and helpful. It's great to see you're performing at the Human Rights Campaign 2006 Chicago Gala Dinner on June 17. I'm so excited to be doing this with HRC!

What will you be performing?Songs My Mother Taught Me.

Are either one of your kids [Jesse 22, and Vanessa, 15] into showbiz? OK, how fast can I say this? No. My son graduated from college in business, and my daughter is majoring in cell phone. I have normal kids. That's my best achievement in my whole entire life. It's my children. My daughter and my son, when they were really little, we were driving through West Hollywood. My son said, "Mom, can I ask you something? What's that flag?" And I told him that was the flag for the gay community. And he said "It's a rainbow." And I said "Yeah?" And he asked "Does that mean it has something to do with your mom? And I said "Duh!" They loved that!

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Christopher Harrity

Christopher Harrity is the Manager of Online Production for Here Media, parent company to The Advocate and Out. He enjoys assembling online features on artists and photographers, and you can often find him poring over the mouldering archives of the magazines.
Christopher Harrity is the Manager of Online Production for Here Media, parent company to The Advocate and Out. He enjoys assembling online features on artists and photographers, and you can often find him poring over the mouldering archives of the magazines.