Saturday, September 17, 2005
Producer Sid Luft, who is credited with reviving the career of then-wife Judy Garland in the 1950s, died Sept. 15 . He was 89.
Mr. Luft, whose credits include "Kilroy Was Here" (1947), "French Leave" (1948) and "A Star Is Born" (1954), died in Santa Monica of an apparent heart attack, John Kimble, a longtime friend and business partner, said yesterday.
Mr. Luft and Garland were married in 1952 and divorced a tumultuous 13 years later. The marriage was Garland's third and Mr. Luft's second.
They had two children together: Lorna, in 1952, and Joey, in 1955. Mr. Luft also was stepfather to singer-actress Liza Minnelli, daughter of Garland's second husband, Vincente Minnelli.
Mr. Luft, who was born in New York, was credited with helping resurrect Garland's career after she was released from her MGM contract in 1950 after a series of personal and professional crises. It was at MGM that she became a star and made such films as "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) and "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944).
"A Star Is Born," produced by Mr. Luft and directed by George Cukor, brought Garland an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The oft-filmed story of a troubled movie star whose career is overshadowed by that of his protegee received five other Oscar nominations, including for Best Actor (James Mason), Best Score and Best Song.
Mr. Luft's marriage to Garland was marked by numerous separations. During their divorce hearing in 1965, Garland told a judge that Mr. Luft was abusive.
In 1993, when Mr. Luft tried to auction off the Best Juvenile Actress Oscar that Garland won for "The Wizard of Oz," the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences sued and won. The academy claimed it had the right to buy the Oscar -- for $10.
After he and Garland divorced, Mr. Luft married Patti Hemingway in 1970. That union ended in divorce. He married actress Camille Keaton in 1993. His first wife was Lynn Bari, whom he married in 1943.