Judy Garland's Manager Remembers Star's Spiraling Drug Addiction
Stevie Phillips talked to Inside Edition about how the "Wizard of Oz" darling dealt with her emotional pain and stage fright.
Judy Garland's manager is speaking out about what the actress was like in her final years.
"When I met Judy, she was 38 and I was 23, and she was in enormous emotional pain," Stevie Phillips told Inside Edition. "... Being with her was like being on a roller coaster."
Garland is portrayed by Renee Zellweger in a new biopic, "Judy." Zellweger's performance is earning rave reviews and plenty of Oscar buzz for her raw depiction of the actress.
Garland became one of the biggest stars in the world after "The Wizard of Oz." But by the end of the 1960s, her star had fallen and her glory days were a faded memory.
The film centers on Garland's efforts to get her career back on track despite suffering from debilitating stage fright. So she turned to pills to help bolster her, Phillips said.
"It took drugs ... to get her back to a level place where you could have a conversation with her, where you could get her to sign checks, sign contracts, talk about business," she recalled.
"The drugs were in a little white case ... she would lay out all the pills, the little vials of pills of a table, and I would deal the gin rummy cards and as I was dealing, she was taking," said Phillips. "And that was enough to get her from up here, where she was performing, to down here, where she could sleep."
She added" It was scary."
Her addiction jeopardized her relationship with her children as well.
"I think she adored them, but she was limited by her career, by her addiction, by the things they demanded of her," said Phillips. "It's hard to be a good mother under those circumstances."
Garland was also broke thanks to failed marriages and bad investments.
"I heard afterward that in New York she was sleeping on fans' couches," Phillips said. "... She couldn't afford the rent."
Garland died of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 47.
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