One good thing about working for AfterElton is I know a big chunk of our readership likes, enjoys, and spends a lot of its extra time thinking about stars of the past. You have to keep those names bouncing around in your head since they’re little replenishable vitamins, surges of endorphins when brought up correctly. That brings me to today’s topic: Judy Garland‘s onscreen paramours. Garland would’ve been 90 yesterday, and I didn’t get to properly commemorate this. But here’s for compensation: I’m bringing you the definitive list of Judy’s five hottest costars. Come on, boys, get happy!
5. James Mason
A Star is Born is one of the great films of the ’50s, a heartbreaking and unforgettable journey. The heroine’s story gets nearly as tragic as Judy’s own, particularly in ’54 when she lost the Best Actress statuette to Grace Kelly in a year when she was the expected shoo-in. But there to soften the blow is James Mason, the British actor with a most jocular method of line delivery. As a faded matinee idol who becomes professionally and romantically involved with new sensation Esther Blodgett, he’s convincing, but better yet, he’s so damn dashing, he puts all those Mad Men copycats to shame. Princess Grace herself might’ve chosen him over Judy, and not just to be cheeky.
4. Van Johnson
Plenty of underrated things going on here: 1) The movie In the Good Old Summertime is perfectly charming, and with capable leads. 2) Van Johnson is not only a total flaxen stud, but he represents a bygone era of people named Van. God, I love that name. Van Cliburn. Van Heflin. Van Morrison. Varied talents, but they all sound like upper-crust, snobbish beauts with that name. 3) This guy can fill out a suit! And a pinstripe one at that. Johnson is wonderful paired with Judy, and it’s a shame he didn’t catch on quite as much some of her other paramours. (See #1.)
3. Dirk Bogarde
You’d think that Judy’s final costar — the one who fit his name on the marquee of her last film alongside hers — would be a forgettable actor in a forgettable film. That’s not the case. I can assure you that Dirk Bogarde is a fine specimen with one of the sultriest British accents on film, but because Judy’s performance as a superstar singer is a tour-de-force, it’s easy to put his cavalier elegance in second place. Don’t you forget this: He is gorgeous.