Judy & Liza & RFDS & Me

Posted in Book Reports, Library of Congress by chamblee54 on June 6, 2020














Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me…: A Memoir is a book written by Stevie Phillips, the Me in the title. One way to introduce the book is to catalog the six famous names on the cover. Judy and Liza are obvious. Stevie was the road manager/babysitter to Judy Garland. Stevie later managed Judy’s daughter, Liza Minelli, during her glory years. Stevie’s business associations with both Judy, and Liza, ended badly.

Robert is Robert Redford, who Stevie also managed. Freddie Fields and David Begelman founded Creative Management Associates (CMA), with Stevie as an original employee. David was a terrible person, who had destructive affairs with both Judy Garland and Stevie Phillips. Sue was uber-agent Sue Mengers. Stevie and Sue were good buddies for a while, until they were not.

The book is a fun read, but should be taken with a grain of salt. While not as self-serving as other show biz autobiographies, JLRFDS&M definitenly tells the story from Me’s point of view. You don’t get to be a successfull talent peddler without a fierce layer of ego, so this should be no surprise.

Chapter Eight, “Boston”, is one of the most dramatic Judy stories. The star was dressing in her hotel room before a show. Judy looked at Stevie, smiling, and cut her wrist with a razor. Stevie made a tourniquet out of a towel, and a hairbrush. She then called David Begelman. He was having an affair with Judy at this time, and was the possible motivation for the wrist-cutting. David gave Stevie a hundred dollar bill, and told her to go buy enough bracelets to cover the bandges. Stevie soon returned with a bag full of bracelets, and Judy made it to her show.

An Amazon one star review has a different take on the October 28, 1961. “I read the excerpt in VANITY FAIR and Phillips describes how before Garland’s 1961 Boston concert, Garland “slit her left wrist with a razor, cutting deeply into an artery” and that Phillips was subsequently dispatched to “buy enough bracelets to cover the bandages.” OK–except I saw a photo of Garland at this concert: where no bandages (or bracelets) are visible.

Towards the end of the story, Stevie starts going to Al-Anon meetings. On page 268: “Sometimes I imaginined Judy sitting next to me in those rooms. Of course, that would have been impossible because of her celebrity…”

I took a road trip once, with a man who used to manage a local AA meeting hall. Liza was in town, and decided that she needed to go to a meeting. The Triangle club hosted her. My traveling companion had lunch with Liza the next day.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Balboa Beach Bathing Beauty Parade, 1925 “” Picture #06662 is from “Second International Pageant of Pulchritude and Eighth Annual Bathing Girl Revue, May 21, 22, 23, 1927, Galveston TX.”

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