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Fri, Sep. 16th, 2005, 06:10 pm
maruca: Sid

Sid Luft, ex-husband of Judy Garland, dies
Producer credited with reviving actress' career in the 1950s

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:09 p.m. ET Sept. 16, 2005

LOS ANGELES - Producer Sid Luft, who is credited with reviving the career of his then-wife, Judy Garland, in the 1950s, has died. He was 89.

Luft, whose credits include "Kilroy was Here" (1947), "French Leave" (1948) and "A Star is Born" (1954), died Thursday in Santa Monica of an apparent heart attack, John Kimble, a longtime friend and business partner of Luft, said Friday.

Luft and Garland were married in 1952 and divorced a tumultuous 13 years later. The marriage was Garland's third and Luft's second.

They had two children together, Lorna in 1952 and Joey in 1955. Luft also was stepfather to singer-actress Liza Minnelli, daughter of Garland's second husband, Vincente Minnelli.

Luft was credited with helping resurrect Garland's career after she was released from her contract at MGM in 1950 following 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" and "Meet Me in St. Louis."

"A Star Is Born," produced by 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 also got five other nominations, including best actor (James Mason), best score and best song.

But Luft's marriage to Garland was marked by numerous separations. During their divorce hearing in 1965, Garland told a judge that Luft was an abusive husband.

"He struck me many times. He did a lot of drinking," Garland, who died in 1969, told Superior Court Judge Edward R. Brand.

In 1993, when Luft tried to auction off the 1939 best juvenile actress Oscar that Garland won for her performance in "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, Luft married Patti Hemingway in 1970. That union also ended in divorce. He married actress Camille Keaton in 1993.

© 2005 MSNBC.com
URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9368031/

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