Did “A Star is Born” Make Judy Garland a Gay Icon?

by: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

This month, Bradley Cooper stars and makes his directorial debut in A Star is Born, a remake of the 1937 romance by the same name.

This is the third adaptation of the original, with a 1954 musical version featuring Judy Garland and James Mason, a 1976 rock and roll adaptation starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and now the pop redo featuring Lady Gaga and Cooper.

Gaga has large shoes to fill, but her casting also feels particularly fitting given all of the singers’ wildly devout queer fan base. In 2001, Brian Currid explored the 1954 version of A Star is Born, specifically analyzing Judy Garland’s role as a gay icon. He opens by saying, “Judy Garland’s queer cult is one of those ‘facts’ of American popular culture that—for ‘Americans’ at least—seems to require no explanation.”

Read the rest here at JSTOR Daily.

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