Singer Judy Collins Still Vocal on Social Issues
Whether singing her own words or those of others, the sublime vocal talent of pop/folk singer Judy Collins has been drawing audiences for over 50 years. But it almost never happened.
“I contracted polio as a child and later tuberculosis when I was in my early 20s,” recalled Collins from her home in New York. “My school teachers told me I was suffering from growing pains but when I was around 11 and the pain became severe, I went to the doctor who said I had polio. Of course, there was an epidemic throughout the country when this happened in 1950 and I spent 2 months in the hospital. Fortunately, there were no lasting effects.”
At 23, while performing in Tucson, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and quarantined for a month before being transferred to a Denver hospital that specialized in treating patients with TB.
“I got the right cocktail of drugs, so I was very lucky to have survived all that illness,” she said.
She would go on to brighten the world with over 50 music albums that included pop hits such as “Send in the Clowns” and “Both Sides Now.” But her own adult world was overshadowed by a darker side as she dealt with eating disorders, alcoholism, and the death of her only son who committed suicide in 1992 at the age of 33.
Battling back again from those desperate challenges, Collins used her voice to promote awareness about social problems including suicide and mental health issues.