HELLO AMERICA!—I’ve known singer-actress Lorna Luft since the early 1970s and it has been an inspiration to watch her grow and develop into an enormous gifted singer. She sounds so much like her late mom Judy Garland to the point one has to stop and listen to make sure if one isn’t listening to an old record of hers.
Lorna has always been determined not to live in the shadow of her legendary mother as well in her sister Liza. However, many of the doors were opened to her simply because she is from a very famous family and in the entertainment world that in itself gives one a major beginning of being recognized.
Because of her sister Liza’s tremendous success, Lorna’s climb to full respect and recognition seemed longer and laborious, no matter how pleasing the reviews were, she was still being touted as the little sister and daughter of — which was terribly frustrating at times. Her television appearances were quite successful, the audiences loved her. She even appeared at the Hollywood Bowl and she was sensational, but still she was not the publicized headliner which accompanied her sister and mom. However, Lorna believed in herself and what she was attempting to do as a singer and worked night and day to get better and better as an artist. She received raves from her fans in the UK, her New York following never deserted her and her name was beginning to stand for something real and genuine based on her work not because of her family.
Suddenly, Lorna wasn’t feeling well. When I spoke with her in 2012, she was hinting that she might slow down a bit and spend more time with her own family. Being on the road she confessed eventually becomes quite draining and one has to store up energy in order to handle the next scheduled show or concert. “There’s one thing I found out,” she offered, “you are forced to realize how human you are; that you are not a super human being. Your mind and body need a rest from the normal routine for which you are responsible. This was hard for me to accept because I love people and I love performing for them, even when I’d prefer to hit my pillow and forget about all the agreements made with everybody.”
Then Lorna’s world turned dark. There were physical symptoms she was experiencing which needed the attention of her physician. “A woman, especially today,” Lorna said, “realizes when a lump or lumps appears on your body, you’d better get to your doctor as soon as possible. And I didn’t waste any time.” This is when it was confirmed that she had stage 2 breast cancer.
“No matter how strong you are or how much you understand, when that kind of news is told you, it rocks your world! But you can’t allow it to take you down.” When informing her children, husband and the rest of the family what the situation was, the power of their love and concern was so overwhelming, she felt that she could lick the world. “I felt that I would have too much to lose to sit back and feel sorry for myself. In my way, I was determined to wage war on the cancer that decided to inhabit my body. And that was that!”
After several months of treatment and following the routine that one must be subject to, a remission set in which gave me hope, even though I realized it was not a cure.” Lorna, slowly accepted a few singing engagements, testing her physical strength and how an evening’s performance would affect her generally. “I felt good, I didn’t force or push anything, I just tried to entertain all those people who showed up to see a performance and hear the songs we all love.”
The better Lorna felt, the more engagements she accepted, there were concert engagements all over the country and because of her enormous following in the UK as well as other European countries. She has spent much of her time on the road.
However, the recent revelation that her cancer has returned, demanding further attention and even more extensive surgery has put a hold on future singing engagements. Refusing to acknowledge any kind of negative appearance in her life she said: “Yes, this is another serious moment in my life but I’m not one to flinch in the face of any kind of challenge, I stand tall and meet it right on. That’s how momma lived life when things got rough and I’m going to do the same.”