Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz Dress Is Being Auctioned – PEOPLE


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"While parting with this dress is bittersweet ... It might just be that the funding helps to prepare the next Mercedes McCambridge or Judy Garland!" one official in the sale said

There's no place like a (new) home!

One of the gingham pinafore dresses worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz will go up for sale in an upcoming auction.

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The costume, worn by the ruby-slippered, tornado-transported Dorothy in the 1939 film, was considered lost for nearly four decades before its re-discovery last year in the collections of the drama department at the Catholic University of America.

Auction house Bonhams will put up the dress for sale in Los Angeles on May 24 as part of their Bonhams Classic Hollywood: Film and Television sale.

In a news release, Bonhams estimated the dress' value at between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 11/23/15 Walt Disney's WWI scrapbook goes on sale in New York - Bonhams' 'TCM presents...Treasures from the Dream Factory' sale, featuring the only known existing scrapbook of original cartoons drawn by a 17-year-old Walt Disney, estd $150,000 - $200,000. The scrapbook, created during the close of World War I when Disney was serving as an ambulance driver, features 13 cartoons of war and animal characters. Other highlights include Steve McQueen's racing suit from 'Le Mans', estd $200,000 - $300,000, a Judy Garland-worn 'Dorothy' dress from 'The Wizard of Oz', estd $800,000 - $1.2 million, and a 'golden ticket' from the 1971 movie 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory', estd $10,000 - $15,000

Credit: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx

Bonhams also said the dress is one of only four of the original costume in existence and one of only two still including the white blouse.

This particular dress, according to the auction house, has been pinpointed as the one Garland wore in the scene where Dorothy confronts the Wicked Witch of the West in her castle.

The dress first came to Catholic University back in the 1970s, as a gift to the former head of the drama department, Father Gilbert Hartke. But after just a year at the Washington, D.C., campus, it was reported to have mysteriously gone missing.

It wasn't until May 2021, nearly four decades later, that, in a moment of chance, the dress was found again. In a story published by the university at the time, staff member Matt Riva said just how lucky the discovery was ... and what an odd spot the dress was ultimately found in.

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Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Snap/Shutterstock (390882bh) FILM STILLS OF 'WIZARD OF OZ' WITH 1939, CHARACTER, DOROTHY: WIZARD OF OZ, VICTOR FLEMING, JUDY GARLAND IN 1939 VARIOUS

Credit: Snap/Shutterstock

"I had looked in our archives, storage closets, etc. to no avail. I assumed it was a tall tale (of which many exist for Father Hartke)," Ripa explained then. "Our building is in the process of renovations and upgrades, so I was cleaning out my office to prepare. I noticed on top of the faculty mailboxes a trashbag and asked my co-worker to hand it to me. On the trashbag was a note for our former chair stating that he had found 'this' in his office and that he must have moved it when he moved out of the chair's office…"

Ripa said he never could have expected what "this" turned out to be.

"I was curious what was inside and opened the trashbag and inside was a shoebox and inside the shoe box was the dress!! I couldn't believe it," he said. "Needless to say, I have found many interesting things in the Hartke during my time at CUA, but I think this one takes the cake."

RELATED VIDEO: See Renée Zellweger's Amazing Transformation Into Judy Garland for New Movie

Proceeds from the dress auction will go toward supporting the Department of Drama at Catholic University.

In a statement, Jacqueline J. Leary-Warsaw, dean of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art said that while sending the outfit somewhere over the rainbow wasn't going to easy, Catholic University was "proud" to share its benefits.

"While parting with this dress is bittersweet, the proceeds are going to help support future generations training for professional careers in theatre," Leary-Warsaw said. "It might just be that the funding helps to prepare the next Mercedes McCambridge or Judy Garland!"

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