Archive for Wizard of Oz

Harold Arlen

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , , on January 24, 2022 by Cade

February 15, 1905 – April 23, 1986

“He wasn’t as well known as some of us, but he was a better songwriter than most of us and he will be missed by all of us.”  – Irving Berlin

Harold Arlen was a composer and widely regarded as one of the most successful pop-song writers of all time. He worked with all the great lyricists including Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg. He is one of the most prominent contributors to the Great American Songbook. Continue reading

Jerry Maren

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , , on June 26, 2019 by Cade

maren1January 24, 1920 – May 24, 2018

Gerard Marenghi, aka Jerry Maren, was an actor who was notable as the last surviving adult munchkin from the 1939 MGM classic film, The Wizard of Oz. Maren appeared as a member of the memorable “Lollipop Guild” during Dorothy’s introduction to the land of Oz. At the time of his death at the age of 98, he was also the last surviving actor with a speaking part in the movie. Continue reading

Margaret Hamilton

Posted in Cremated with tags , , on January 14, 2019 by Cade

December 9, 1902 – May 16, 1985

Movie stars play leading roles. Actors play characters. The success of an actor generally hinges upon his or her ability to play a wide-range of characters well. Good characters. Funny characters. Eccentric characters. Evil characters. These characters often differ vastly from the person portraying them. Character actor Margaret Hamilton’s defining role could not have been more different than her real-life nature. In order for her parents to let her pursue acting professionally, Hamilton had to attend college first. She studied teaching – a passion she carried with her throughout her life – and then jumped into acting. She made a number of movies in Hollywood in the 1930s, but it was a 1939 film that would cement her in film history. Continue reading


Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , on November 7, 2018 by Cade

November 17, 1933 – September 1, 1945


Terry the Cairn Terrier was trained to be a performer by famous Hollywood dog trainer, Carl Spitz. She is most widely recognized as Toto, the faithful, on-screen companion of Judy Garland‘s Dorothy in the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. Though it was Terry’s only credited role, there are few canines in cinematic history as recognizable or iconic.

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Victor Fleming

Posted in Hollywood Forever Cemetery with tags , , , on September 4, 2018 by Cade

February 23, 1889 – January 6, 1949

Legendary Hollywood producer, director and cinematographer, Victor Fleming’s entire career could have only lasted one year…and he still would be considered one of the greatest of all time. The year in question was 1939 when Fleming directed TWO classic films ranked among the best or most beloved ever: The Wizard of Oz (released in August) and Gone with the Wind (December). He literally could have just quit there. Fortunately for all of us, there were 38 other years where Fleming worked in the movie business. His movies earned several Academy Award nominations including a Best Director nod for Gone with the Wind, which he won. Continue reading

Bert Lahr

Posted in Union Field Cemetery with tags , on December 27, 2016 by Cade

lahr1August 13, 1895 – December 4, 1967

Tony Award-winning comedian/actor, Bert Lahr, dropped out of school to join a vaudeville troupe. It was on the stage that he spent most of his career. But it was on film – one film, in particular – where he found his greatest and most notable success. Lahr brought his humor and bravado to the role of the Cowardly Lion in the classic The Wizard of Oz and generations have loved him for it.

Irving Lahrheim was New York through and through. He was born there. He died there. And he performed practically the entire time in between. Continue reading

Frank Morgan

Posted in Green-Wood Cemetery with tags , on November 13, 2016 by Cade

morgan1June 1, 1890 – September 18, 1949

Francis Wuppermann was an Oscar-nominated character actor who enjoyed immense success over the course of his 35 year career. Working under the stage name Frank Morgan, he was signed to a lifetime contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios and worked prolifically for them for more than 2 decades. He appeared in several movies each year for MGM, but is most widely recognized for his multiple roles – including the titular character – in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Continue reading

Jack Haley

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , on March 15, 2013 by Cade


August 10, 1898 – June 6, 1979

I’m not going to say that Jack Haley wouldn’t have had a career if Buddy Ebsen didn’t almost die from a reaction to aluminum-based make-up…but he certainly wouldn’t have been AS famous.  Probably.  I don’t know.  Jack had a pretty decent career as a song-and-dance man/comedian.  He starred in such musicals as Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Poor Little Rich Girl.  But none of them came close to as big as his accidental role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.  It’s true, though, he did replace TV’s Jed Clampett in the iconic role when Ebsen had a serious reaction to the metallic paint in the costume and make-up.  The rest is history.

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Ray Bolger

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , , on March 7, 2013 by Cade


January 10, 1904 – January 15, 1987

Song and dance man, Ray Bolger, had quite the stage and film career going when he stumbled upon a little role as a scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.  Total career killer that one.

Seriously, though, Bolger was immensely talented and any lack of recognition of his work outside of Oz is strictly on us.  We suck.


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Billie Burke

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , , on February 27, 2013 by Cade


August 7, 1884 – May 14, 1970

Though a prolific stage, screen and radio actress, Mary William Ethelbert Appleton “Billie” Burke is remembered for two things:  1) she was married to legendary Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld and 2) she played Glinda the Good Witch in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Personally, I believe she should be remembered for her glorious birth name above all else.

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