Michelle Russell, Author

Home | Biography | Press | Commendations | Photos | Family Photos | Favorite Links | Contact Me | Special Invite


Over the years, Ms. Russell has met many people associated with Judy Garland and her heritage.

(c) 1995 Michelle Russell

With John Kelsch, director of the Judy Garland Birthplace at the 1995 Judy Garland Festival
Author's Note: John Kelsch has been responsible for bringing together a large collection of Judy Garland historical memorabilia and preserving the home now known as the Judy Garland Birthplace, as well as, creating the Judy Garland Museum. I am indebted to John Kelsch for the many opportunities to pay tribute to Judy both in song, and research of her musical roots. 

(c) 1996 Michelle Russell

Ms. Russell with noted Garland historian, John Fricke, at the 1996 Judy Garland Festival in Grand Rapids Minnesota.
John Fricke has done so much to preserve the real legacy of Judy Garland - her great talent and inspiration in film, concerts and recordings. It is always a great pleasure to hear his wonderful talks about her.

(c) 2002 Michelle Russell

The author speak with Margaret O'Brien, Judy's co-star in the film, "Meet Me In St. Louis".
Author's Note:  How wonderful to meet actress Margaret O'Brien, who played Tootie to Judy's Esther in the classic Vincente Minnelli film, Meet Me In St. Louis.

(c) 2002 Michelle Russell

With MGM dancer, Carin Marsh Doll, who was also stand-in for Judy Garland in several of her films, including The Wizerd of Oz.
Author's Note: I was so thrilled to take a dance class with Carin Marsh Doll in Grand Rapids and learn the correct way to skip down the yellow brick road, just as she and Judy did on the set of The Wizard of Oz. She is a true inspiration!

(c) 2002 Michelle Russell

Eleanor Downing, friend of Jimmie Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Author comment: Mrs. Downing and I spoke many times and then she showed up at the living history program at the Judy Garland Birthplace in Grand Rapids.  What a thrill it was (and a little scary) to have someone who had played with Jimmie and Janey in the house, as we tried to recreate the past.

(c) 2007 Michelle Russell

The author with Wilma Hendricks Casper who lived with the Gumm family for a time and took care of three-year old Baby Gumm.

Author's comment:  I met Wilma Hendricks Casper and her husband, Bob, at the Judy Garland Festival in 1995.  She had come to see the house where she lived with the Gumms and tell John Kelsch, the director, what she remembered of it.  She and I soon became fast friends.  What a wonderful woman she was, so sweet and also feisty! It was a joy and a blessing to know Wilma.

(c) 2002 Michelle Russell

June O'Clock at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN
Author's Note:  June O'Clock was a friend of Mary Jane and Virginia Gumm and spent much time with them at home and the New Grand Theatre.  I learned some wonderful stories from her that I had never heard before.

(c) 2004 Michelle Russell

Glenn Settle of Lancaster of California
Author's Note: Glenn Settle went to school with the Gumm girls and has been generous sharing his pictures and stories with me. Being older than Frances Gumm, his memories were clearer of the early '20s. He also played golf with Frank Gumm.

Dorothy Walsh Morrison at ninety!

Dorothy Walsh Morrison, neighbor and friend of the Gumm girls in Lancaster, California
Author's Note: Dorothy Walsh Morrison and I have spend countless hours talking about her early adventures with the Gumm family. Dorothy was the Gumm's neighbor in Lancaster, CA in the 1920s. She remained fast friends with the girls for many years. Dorothy first met Frank Gumm when he was looking for a home to rent for his family. She was also present at Judy's MGM audition. Her personal recollections have been priceless in learning about both the human and theatrical side of the Gumms.


With Bernard --- in Grand Rapids, 1997
Author's Comment:   Bernie lived next door to the Gumm family in Grand Rapids. Frank paid him to run errands around the theatre and to teach Baby Gumm to swim. He also played Prince Charming to Mary Jane's Princess. Most notably, Bernie is the famous kid Judy spoke about putting a rock in a snowball and throwing it. This snowball hit her in the head and Mary Jane and Jimmie beat him up!