Priest’s Niece Sues To Stop Auction Of Dorothy Dress Worn By Judy Garland In ‘The Wizard Of Oz’


The sale of a gown worn by Judy Garland when she performed Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz that the public sale home hoped would promote for as a lot as seven figures has been thrown thrown into doubt by a lawsuit introduced by the niece of the priest the costume was gifted to a long time in the past.

Key Facts

A lawsuit filed Tuesday within the District Court for the Southern District of New York claims that the gown rightfully belongs to Barbara Hartke, inheritor to the property of Rev. Gilbert Hartke, the previous head of the Catholic University of America’s drama division.

Last month, Catholic University introduced that it was promoting the gown Garland wore within the 1939 film after it was rediscovered on campus final 12 months a long time after it was believed to have been misplaced, with all proceeds set to go towards the college’s drama division (Bonhams estimated the gown would fetch between $600,000 and $1.2 million at public sale.)

The gown was gifted to Gilbert Hartke by actress Mercedes McCambridge in 1973 after the priest helped her by way of her substance abuse points, in keeping with Bonhams, which mentioned individuals who knew McCambridge prompt that she could have acquired the gown from the costume archives at MGM throughout a list clearance.

Barbara Hartke’s authorized staff argues within the lawsuit that the college doesn’t have the fitting to promote the gown as a result of McCambridge “specifically and publicly” gave the gown to Hartke, and is subsequently “an asset of the decedent’s estate.”

Her attorneys declare that no obvious try was made to contact Hartke’s heirs upon the invention of the gown and her staff is in search of a short lived restraining order or an injunction to cease the sale, in keeping with court docket paperwork.

Catholic University informed Forbes in a press release that the college is reviewing the lawsuit’s allegations, and can present further info “after a thorough review of the complaint.”

Big Number

$1.56 million. That’s how a lot one other Dorothy gown worn by Garland fetched at public sale in 2015. It additionally had an public sale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million. Barbara Hartke’s authorized staff famous within the lawsuit that they consider the Dorothy gown slated for public sale by Catholic University would additionally promote for the next value.

Key Background

The gown is certainly one of solely two present clothes worn by Garland throughout filming that’s nonetheless paired with an identical white shirt, and certainly one of 4 blue-and-white gingham clothes used within the shoot that’s nonetheless identified to exist, in keeping with Bonhams. A black label sewn contained in the gown reads “JUDY GARLAND 4223,” and the public sale home says photograph matching exhibits Garland wore the gown throughout The Wizard of Oz scene through which Dorothy is threatened by the Wicked Witch of the West in her fortress. The gown was rediscovered in the course of the pandemic by a retired drama professor going by way of packing containers in his previous workplace after going lacking in some unspecified time in the future in the course of the Nineteen Eighties after Hartke’s dying, in keeping with Bonhams.

Further Reading

Long-Lost Dorothy Dress Worn By Judy Garland In ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Could Fetch $1.2 Million (Forbes)

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