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."
In 1961, Garland and CBS settled their contract disputes with the help of her new agent, Freddie Fields, and negotiated a new round of specials. The first, titled The Judy Garland Show, aired on February 25, 1962 and featured guests Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Following this success, CBS made a $24 million offer to her for a weekly television series of her own, also to be called The Judy Garland Show, which was deemed at the time in the press to be "the biggest talent deal in TV history". Although she had said as early as 1955 that she would never do a weekly television series, in the early 1960s, she was in a financially precarious situation. She was several hundred thousand dollars in debt to the Internal Revenue Service, having failed to pay taxes in 1951 and 1952, and the failure of A Star is Born meant that she received nothing from that investment.More Info
On June 22, 1969, Deans found Garland dead in the bathroom of their rented mews house in Cadogan Lane, Belgravia, London; she was 47 years old. At the inquest, Coroner Gavin Thurston stated that the cause of death was "an incautious self-overdosage" of barbiturates; her blood contained the equivalent of ten 1.5-grain (97 mg) Seconal capsules. Thurston stressed that the overdose had been unintentional and no evidence suggested that she had died by suicide. Garland's autopsy showed no inflammation of her stomach lining and no drug residue in her stomach, which indicated that the drug had been ingested over a long period of time, rather than in a single dose. Her death certificate stated that her death was "accidental". Supporting the accidental cause, Garland's physician noted that a prescription of 25 barbiturate pills was found by her bedside half-empty and another bottle of 100 barbiturate pills was still unopened.More Info
During this time Garland had a 6-month affair with actor Glenn Ford. Garland's biographer Gerald Clarke, Ford's son Peter, singer Mel Torme and her husband Sid Luft wrote about the affair in their respective biographies. The relationship began in 1963 while Garland was doing her television show. Ford would attend tapings of the show sitting in the front row while Garland sang. Ford is credited with giving Garland one of the more stable relationships of her later life. The affair was ended by Ford (a notorious womanizer according to his son Peter) when he realized Garland wanted to marry him.More Info
Despite her personal struggles, Garland disagreed with the public's opinion that she was a tragic figure. Her younger daughter Lorna agreed that Garland "hated" being referred to as a tragic figure, explaining, "We all have tragedies in our lives, but that does not make us tragic. She was funny and she was warm and she was wonderfully gifted. She had great highs and great moments in her career. She also had great moments in her personal life. Yes, we lost her at 47 years old. That was tragic. But she was not a tragic figure." Ruhlmann argues that Garland actually used the public's opinion of her tragic image to her advantage towards the end of her career.More Info
Writing for Turner Classic Movies, biographer Jonathan Riggs observed that Garland had a tendency to imbue her vocals with a paradoxical combination of "fragility and resilience" that eventually became a signature trademark of hers. Louis Bayard of The Washington Post described Garland's voice as "throbbing", believing it to be capable of "connect[ing] with [audiences] in a way no other voice does". Bayard also believes that listeners "find it hard to disentwine the sorrow in her voice from the sorrow that dogged her life", while Dowlin argued that, "Listening to Judy sing ... makes me forget all of the angst and suffering she must have endured." The New York Times obituarist in 1969 observed that Garland, whether intentionally or not, "brought with her ... all the well-publicized phantoms of her emotional breakdown, her career collapses and comebacks" on stage during later performances. The same writer said that Garland's voice changed and lost some of its quality as she aged, although she retained much of her personality. Contributing to the Irish Independent, Julia Molony observed Garland's voice, although "still rich with emotion", had finally begun to "creak with the weight of years of disappointment and hard-living" by the time she performed at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Similarly, the live record's entry in the Library of Congress wrote that "while her voice was still strong, it had also gained a bit of heft and a bit of wear"; author Cary O'Dell believes Garland's rasp and "occasional quiver" only "upped the emotional quotient of many of her numbers", particularly on her signature songs "Over the Rainbow" and "The Man That Got Away". Garland stated that she always felt most safe and at home while performing onstage, regardless of the condition of her voice. Her musical talent has been commended by her peers; opera singer Maria Callas once said that Garland possessed "the most superb voice she had ever heard", while singer and actor Bing Crosby said that "no other singer could be compared to her" when Garland was rested.More Info
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