This extract is taken from the wonderful biography of Judy, Get Happy by Gerald Clarke. I reviewed it last month and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to any fan. This extract takes place during one of her hospital stays prior to her final fracture with MGM. Judy has been going regularly to visit children at their hospital next door and has been most drawn to a frightened girl who hasn't spoken for two days because her family has been so cruel to her. Judy spends a lot of time with her, talking about her life to the girl and not minding that she didn't answer back.
By the end of August Judy had recovered her weight and energy, and it was time to say good-bye. On her last day in Boston, she paid her final visit to the children's hospital, where each of the patients, scrubbed and smiling, held a tiny bouquet of flowers in her honour. "Well, my friend, I'm going now," she said to the girl who refused to speak, "and I want to thank you for all you've done for me. I'm going to miss you." As Judy leaned over to kiss her, the girl reached out and clasped her as tightly as she could, and all the words she had not uttered for so many months poured out in a seemingly endless torrent. "Judy!" she screamed. "I love you! I love you! Don't leave! Don't leave!"
Watching that poignant drama, the rest of the ward was all but awash in tears: the nurses cried, the other children cried, Alsop cried and so, of course, did Judy. When Alsop warned her that they would miss their train, Judy waved him away. "Well, we'll just have to miss it," she said. "I'm not going to leave this child right now while she's talking." And there she remained for the next two hours, listening to her little friend's excited babble and bringing the nurses over, one by one, so that the girl would continue to speak even after Judy herself had returned to California. There had been other gratifying moments in her life, Judy later said, but nothing approached that one. "I didn't give a goddamn how many pictures I'd been fired from. I had done a human being some good. She had helped to make me well, and I had helped her."