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‘The Wizard of Oz’ and Beyond: Life for the Cast After the Yellow Brick Road


When you fall in love with a movie, like the world did with 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, there’s a tendency to lock the film and its performers in a little bubble inside your heart and imagination. Yes, logically you know the cast including Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, and all the rest had private lives and careers that preceded and went on long after the film. But there’s also a part of us that thinks of them in their respective roles of Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and the Wicked Witch of the West. Given that the film will be turning 80 next year and our collective love for it is still so strong (just check out the iconic quotes from The Wizard of Oz) speaks volumes of its power.

Besides looking at how each of the main cast members were selected to play their most famous roles, we decided to dig a little deeper to see what went on with them after they had gotten off the Yellow Brick Road. Judy Garland, for instance, for all of her success, sadly did not have a happy life, being married numerous times, fighting back against depression and body issues instilled in her by the people she worked with in her youth, and struggling with addiction issues. Frank Morgan, who played the Wizard, had an incredibly fruitful career, starring in just over 100 films in his lifetime. And then there were the others, who experienced varying degrees of success, one of them actually dropping out of the business to look for greener pastures.

But whatever course their lives took, the child in all of us remains eternally grateful to each and every one of them. Obviously, they couldn’t have known it at the time, but in that journey down the Yellow Brick Road bringing The Wizard of Oz to life in just the way they did, they achieved a bit of immortality for themselves and gave us the perfect means of traveling somewhere over the rainbow again and again.

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