I n July 2013 while in London for the weekend I walked from Hyde Park down into Chelsea. A short walk away from the buzzing Sloane Square I found a short cobbled dead-end street with a few houses on it. I’d watched a short television programme about Judy Garland and her pitiful death at a house here. I’d paused the documentary and printed the screen when it showed the mews house where she died. It was before me now. In the documentary it had looked empty and unloved and it didn’t look much better now. You’d have thought a big star like that would have rented a nicer place. I took a few photos. People sat outside a café on the main road must have thought I was daft saluting away at the camera but they probably didn’t know a legend’s life flickered out here.
In 1969 Judy was 47 and her health was deteriorating. That year she’d done her (last) concert in Copenhagen and married her fifth husband musician Mickey Deans around the corner at Chelsea Register Office. They were renting this house on Cadogan Lane. On June 21st 1969 they argued here. Judy stormed out and her husband went to bed. The next morning he took a telephone call for Judy but couldn’t find her. The bathroom door was locked on silence. He climbed out on to the roof and looked into the bathroom window to find Judy motionless on the toilet, head slumped forward and her hands on her knees. He climbed through the window and found dried blood had dribbled from her mouth and nose. She had been dead for about approximately eight hours.
At the inquest the coroner stated that the cause of death was "an incautious self-overdose" and there was no solid evidence to suggest suicide. The autopsy showed drugs had been ingested over a long period of time rather than in one dose. Her remains were taken to New York City where about 20,000 people lined up for hours at the funeral chapel to pay their respects. After the funeral she was interred in a crypt in the community mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery, New York.
This website is quite interesting for further reading...