Sidney Luft (November 2, 1915 â" September 15, 2005) was an American show business figure, the third husband of American actress and singer Judy Garland and the second husband of American actress Lynn Bari. He was known primarily as Sid Luft.
He was born Michael Sidney Luft in New York City, to Jewish immigrants from Russia and Germany. His family moved to Westchester County, where he grew up.
Luft was once an amateur boxer and bar-room brawler and had the nickname "One-Punch Luft." He was a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in the early 40s was a test pilot for Douglas.
He is credited with keeping Garland working and with setting up a deal with Warner Brothers to bankroll his wife's comeback film, a 1954 musical remake of A Star Is Born plus future projects.
Luft's name is on the film's credits as producer. A Star Is Born was a major critical success. During its first release, the picture proved to be very popular with audiences and grossed an enormous amount of money, but it failed to recoup its production costs. This was considered a major factor in Garland not winning the Academy Award that year for Best Actress. As a result, the studio canceled the Luft-Garland contract, which would have starred Judy in two additional Warner films, and given Luft a berth at Warner's as a producer.
Luft's first Hollywood assignment was as the secretary and manager of dancer Eleanor Powell.
He was married four times:
- On November 28, 1943 to actress Lynn Bari. They had one child, a son named John Michael Luft (b. 1948). They divorced on December 26, 1950.
- On June 29, 1952 to actress Judy Garland. They had two children, Lorna Luft (born November 21, 1952 in Santa Monica, California) and Joseph Wiley "Joey" Luft (born March 29, 1955 in Los Angeles). They separated in 1963 and divorced in 1965. Garland accused him of drunkenness and abuse.
- In 1970 New York, to Patti Hemingway, from whom he was later divorced.
- On March 20, 1993 to Camille Keaton, who is related to Buster Keaton.
Many, including Garland's daughter Liza Minnelli, attribute her greatest concerts and the film of A Star Is Born to Luft. Garland was most content while working.
Sidney Luft died September 15, 2005 in Santa Monica, California, apparently of a heart attack, aged 89. Luft's funeral service was held at the Riviera Country Club, one of his and Judy Garland's favorite golf courses, and was attended by many notable people from the movie and television community. The club's piano, played throughout Luft's service, was the same one on which the composer Harold Arlen had played the score of A Star is Born for Judy Garland after a golf game the two had shared there.
- Alexander Charles Luft
- Kilroy Was Here (1947)
- French Leave (1948)
- General Electric Theater (TV) (Episode: Judy Garland Musical Special)
- A Star Is Born (1954)
- Ford Star Jubilee (TV) (Episode: The Judy Garland Special)
- Judy Garland's Hollywood (1997)
- Sidney Luft at the Internet Movie Database
- Sidney Luft movies
- Sid Luft: Judy Garland's third husband and producer of her comeback film
- The Least Worst Man: Sidney Luft (1915â"2005)
- Garland's Oscar statue lawsuit
- LA Times on Luft's Garland-Oscar lawsuit
- Luft's Daily Telegraph interview
- Luft USA Today obituary (Associated Press)
- Washington Post obituary (Associated Press)