Lost for over four decades, the iconic blue-and-white gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in her role as Dorothy in the beloved 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” was rediscovered and put up for auction, but a judge blocked its sale.
Wizard of Oz dress found after being lost for over 40 years
The 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz featured actress Judy Garland in the role of Dorothy, and everyone recognizes the blue-and-white checked gingham dress she wore. Knockoffs have been a popular Halloween costume for decades.
The original iconic dress was lost and was missing for over 40 years. The dress was given to Father Hartke, a drama teacher at the Catholic University of America, by actress Mercedes McCambridge in 1973, Town & Country reported.
Last year, the dress was rediscovered after being found in a shoebox during preparations for renovation, NBC reported.
‘Wizard of Oz’ dress goes up for auction, expected to fetch $1 million
After discovering the dress, the Catholic University of America scheduled the original Wizard of Oz dress to be part of an auction of Hollywood memorabilia in Los Angeles.
Bonhams, the auctioneer involved in the sale, listed the dress with a presale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Judge puts sale of ‘Wizard of Oz’ dress on hold
Barbara Ann Hartke, 81, the niece of Father Hartke, says her uncle was given the dress as a personal gift to him by actress Mercedes McCambridge – not as a gift to the school, Fox reported. She filed a lawsuit against the school, stating that as her uncle’s closest living relative, the dress belongs to her.
The university “has no ownership interest in the dress as … there is no documentation demonstrating decedent ever formally or informally donated the dress to Catholic University,” according to the lawsuit.
However, the university disagrees. It filed an opposing lawsuit, saying that Father Hartke, as a Dominican priest for the Catholic University of America, had taken a vow “to never accept gifts in his personal capacity.”
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan granted a motion for a preliminary injunction to postpone the sale of the dress after a hearing regarding the lawsuits.
The dress has now been withdrawn from the auction while the legal cases move forward.
Attorneys for the university said in a statement: “We look forward to presenting our position, and the overwhelming evidence contradicting Ms. Hartke’s claim, to the court in the course of this litigation.”