The granddaughter of Judy Garland believes the Hollywood icon sent her a special message from over the rainbow following the birth of her son earlier this month.
Vanessa O'Neil, 31, who is one of two children of Garland's daughter, actor and singer Lorna Luft, gave birth to her son, Kieran, at a hospital in southern California in early March.
Only hours after welcoming the baby boy, a rainbow could be seen out the window as he slept in his bassinet. The family took it as a sign from the actor who famously sang about life "somewhere over the rainbow" as Dorothy in the legendary 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz."
"You could see behind the little bassinet that my son was in, sure enough, just a big rainbow right there," O'Neil told Dylan Dreyer on TODAY Tuesday. "It really makes you feel like, hey, like you are sending me a sign that you know. Thank you."
Luft, 69, shared a photo of the sweet moment on Facebook on March 5 as she remembered Garland, who died at 47 in 1969.
"This picture was taken a few hours after Little Kieran was born," Luft wrote. "I think you all will see the astounding rainbow that appeared in the sky. Vanessa said to me 'mom your mom is happy.'"
Kieran joins older brother Logan, 5, to make it a family of four for O'Neil and her husband, Patrick O'Neil. The baby boy is the fourth great-grandchild of Garland, whom Vanessa never met. O'Neil's brother, Jesse, also has two children.
While Vanessa believes she has inherited the sense of humor from her famous grandmother that is a "huge" part of her personality, she also believes there is a darker legacy that was also passed down.
Garland, who would've turned 100 this year, struggled with addiction for years and died in London from a drug overdose. Luft spoken to Australia's "Studio 10" in 2017 about her own cocaine use in the 1970's and '80s before getting clean.
Luft's sister and O'Neil's aunt, actor and Broadway star Liza Minelli, 76, also publicly struggled with alcohol and drug addiction during her career. O'Neil shared that she too has battled addiction in her own life.
"I do have the addiction gene myself," O'Neil said. "I’m seven years sober, and I really do feel like it’s a genetic trait in my family."
O'Neil was aware as a young adult of her grandmother's substance addiction after Luft told her about it.
"My grandma was living in a time where there really wasn’t much help," O'Neil said. "There weren’t these programs like AA, and people didn’t really know what what addiction was."
O'Neil has bypassed the show business life of her mother and aunt to become a personal trainer and nutrition coach in San Diego.
"The health and wellness industry has helped me so much, not only with my physical health and body image, but my mental health, 1,000 percent," she said.
While she never got a chance to know her grandmother, she is proud to carry on the legacy of one of Hollywood's most legendary figures.
"I’m in awe even being her own granddaughter," she said. "I’m so impressed and blown away that this 4-foot-11 little woman has this humongous voice."
Garland's tragic death also meant she never got the chance to experience her wish of becoming a grandmother. She expressed that hope during an appearance on TODAY back in 1967 with Lorna and her brother, Joe, by her side.
"I can't wait!" she told Barbara Walters. "I want her (Lorna) to have a baby immediately and then she can see the baby for only 25 minutes and I’d be the babysitter!"
"It makes me tear up a little just hearing that because obviously we didn’t get to see her," O'Neil said.
Seeing her mother perform many of her grandmother's songs over the years has helped keep her memory alive for O'Neil. She hopes to pass along some of Garland's qualities to her own children.
"I always say that I have such strong women in my family who aren’t afraid to speak up and be their most authentic self," O'Neil said. "And I know that that sometimes isn’t probably easy, but I hope to pass that along to my kids."