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Catholic College sued over public sale of Judy Garland ‘Wizard of Oz’ costume

A foyer card from the movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz,’ reveals a movie nonetheless of a scene wherein American actress Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) (as Dorothy) wipes tears from the eyes of actor Bert Lahr (1895 – 1967) (because the Cowardly Lion), whereas watched by Jack Haley (1898 – 1979) (because the Tin Man) (left), and Ray Bolger (1904 – 1987) (because the Scarecrow), 1939. The movie was directed by Victor Fleming.

Hulton Archive | Moviepix | Getty Photos

Overlook the ruby slippers. Dorothy’s costume is now essentially the most contentious piece of clothes within the Land of Oz.

The niece of a long-dead priest is suing a New York public sale home to dam the sale of one in every of Judy Garland’s iconic Dorothy frocks from the 1939 traditional “The Wizard of Oz.”

The costume was lacking for many years earlier than it was discovered at a Catholic college final yr. The priest’s niece, Barbara Hartke, says the precious piece of Hollywood memorabilia belonged to her late uncle.

The blue and white gingham costume, believed to be one in every of six unique attire from the 1939 movie is slated to be offered at public sale on Could 24 and will snare anyplace between $800,000 and $1.2 million, Bonhams New York stated.

The costume was a present from Mercedes McCambridge, an actress and good friend of Garland’s who was artist-in-residence at The Catholic College of America in Washington, D.C., between 1972 and 1973, to Dominican Father Gilbert Hartke, founding father of the college’s drama division. (McCambridge, by the way, is thought for offering the voice of the demon in 1973’s religious-horror traditional “The Exorcist,” which was shot and set in D.C.)

Nonetheless, after he died in 1986, nobody knew what had turn into of the costume and it was thought of misplaced. In June of final yr, the costume was present in a white trash bag above the college mail slots throughout a renovation of the college’s Hartke Theater.

Whereas The Catholic College of America has claimed possession of the costume, Hartke’s niece Barbara Hartke argues that the costume belongs to her. She can also be suing the college.

The lawsuit filed Could 3 claims, as a result of McCambridge “particularly and publicly” gave the costume to Gilbert Hartke, the costume is an asset of the decedent’s property. Barbara Hartke is in search of an injunction from the court docket that may stop the public sale from happening.

Representatives from Bonhams and The Catholic College of America didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark.

– CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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