Judy Garland is born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, 1922. The actress made her first movie in 1936 at the age of 13—a short film with Deanna Durbin called Every Sunday. Later that year she appeared in her first full-length feature, Pigskin Parade. It would be the first of a series of teenage roles for a star who longed to play an adult but stayed a teen well into her early twenties. She played young so often, of course, precisely because she was young. Prior to her star-making role in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when she was just 17, she was a kid in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937), Everybody Sing (1938), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) and Listen, Darling (1938). Audiences loved her pubescent innocence, and MGM delayed her onscreen maturity so should could keep being a kid in such hits as Babes in Arms (1939), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), Strike Up the Band (1940) and Babes on Broadway (1941).
In 1942 she had a rare turn as an adult in the World War I-era musical For Me and My Gal and actually played her own age in Presenting Lily Mars (1943). MGM subtracted years from her age again in Girl Crazy (1943). In her last hurrah as a cinematic teen, she reluctantly made what became one of her best movies, Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), playing the second-to-oldest Smith daughter hoping to spend her high school senior year in Missouri instead of New York. Vincente Minnelli, her Meet Me in St. Louis director and future husband, would direct Garland in her next picture, The Clock (1945), in which she played a New York woman who falls in love with and marries a soldier (Robert Walker) during the course of his two-day leave. At last and from then on, she was an adult.