By the time of her death in 1969, Garland had appeared in more than 35 films. She has been called one of the greats of entertainment, and her reputation has endured. In 1992, Gerald Clarke of Architectural Digest dubbed Garland "probably the greatest American entertainer of the twentieth century". O'Brien believes that "No one in the history of Hollywood ever packed the musical wallop that Garland did", explaining, "She had the biggest, most versatile voice in movies. Her Technicolor musicals... defined the genre. The songs she introduced were Oscar gold. Her film career frames the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals." Turner Classic Movies dubbed Garland "history's most poignant voice". Entertainment Weekly's Gene Lyons dubbed Garland "the Madonna of her generation". The American Film Institute named her eighth among the Greatest female stars of Golden Age Hollywood cinema. In June 1998, in The New York Times, Camille Paglia wrote that, "Garland was a personality on the grand scale who makes our current crop of pop stars look lightweight and evanescent." In recent years, Garland's legacy has maintained fans of all different ages, both younger and older. In 2010, The Huffington Post contributor Joan E. Dowlin concluded that Garland possessed a distinct "it" quality by "exemplif[ying] the star quality of charisma, musical talent, natural acting ability, and, despite what the studio honchos said, good looks (even if they were the girl next door looks)". AllMusic's biographer William Ruhlmann said that "the core of her significance as an artist remains her amazing voice and emotional commitment to her songs", and believes that "her career is sometimes viewed more as an object lesson in Hollywood excess than as the remarkable string of multimedia accomplishments it was". In 2012, Strassler described Garland as "more than an icon... Like Charlie Chaplin and Lucille Ball, she created a template that the powers that be have forever been trying, with varied levels of success, to replicate."
At the beginning of 1960, Garland signed a contract with Random House to write her autobiography. The book was to be called The Judy Garland Story, and would be a collaboration with Fred F. Finklehoffe. Garland was paid an advance of $35,000, and she and Finklehoffe recorded conversations about her life to be used in producing a manuscript. Garland would work on her autobiography on and off throughout the 1960s, but never completed it. Portions of her unfinished autobiography were included in the 2014 biography, Judy Garland on Judy Garland: Interviews and Encounters by Randy L. Schmidt.More Info
In September, 1947, Garland joined the Committee for the First Amendment, an action group formed by Hollywood celebrities in support of the Hollywood Ten during the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives led by J. Parnell Thomas, which was formed to investigate alleged disloyalty and subversive activities on the part of private citizens, public employees, and organizations suspected of having Communist ties. The Committee for the First Amendment sought to protect the civil liberties of those accused. Other members included Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Dorothy Dandridge, John Garfield, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Horne, John Huston, Gene Kelly, and Billy Wilder. Garland took part in recording an all-star October 26, 1947 radio broadcast, Hollywood Fights Back, during which she exhorted listeners to action: "Before every free conscience in America is subpoenaed, please speak up! Say your piece! Write your congressman a letter—air mail special. Let the Congress know what you think of its Un-American Committee."More Info
Garland was left in a desperate situation which saw her sell her Brentwood home at a price far below its value. She was then cast in February 1967 for the role of Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls by 20th Century Fox. According to co-star Patty Duke, Garland was treated poorly by director Mark Robson on the set of Valley of the Dolls and was primarily hired so as to augment publicity for the film. After Garland's dismissal from the film, author Jacqueline Susann said in the 1967 television documentary Jacqueline Susann and the Valley of the Dolls, "I think Judy will always come back. She kids about making a lot of comebacks, but I think Judy has a kind of a thing where she has to get to the bottom of the rope and things have to get very, very rough for her. Then with an amazing inner strength that only comes of a certain genius, she comes back bigger than ever".More Info
On August 28, 1963, Garland and other prominent celebrities such as Josephine Baker, Sidney Poitier, Lena Horne, Paul Newman, Rita Moreno, and Sammy Davis, Jr. took part in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a demonstration organized to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. She had been photographed by the press in Los Angeles earlier in the month alongside Eartha Kitt, Marlon Brando, and Charlton Heston as they planned their participation in the march on the nation's capital.More Info
On September 16, 1963, Garland—along with daughter Liza, Carolyn Jones, June Allyson, and Allyson's daughter Pam Powell—held a press conference to highlight and protest the recent bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that resulted in the death of four young African American girls. They expressed their shock at the events and requested funds for the families of the victims. Pam Powell and Liza Minnelli both announced their intention to attend the funeral of the victims during the press conference.More Info
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