Judy Garland’s three children appeared together at the 86th Academy Awards, but they didn’t present an Oscar. Instead, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft reunited to commemorate the 75th anniversary of their late mother’s iconic film, “The Wizard of Oz.” A ruby slipper-wearing Whoopi Goldberg provided an intro to the tribute, while Pink belted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
The fantasy musical was released in 1939 and went on to become one of the most beloved movies of all time. But while Hollywood’s biggest night featured a well deserved tribute to the MGM classic, the film has been celebrated by many celebs in other ways over the years.
Last year, the big screen flick “Oz the Great and Powerful” featured a star-studded cast in a prequel to the classic film. James Franco starred as the great and powerful title character, while Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz played the evil sister witches. Michelle Williams was cast as Glinda the Good Witch of the North.
Although Franco played the mighty Oz in the film, he told MSN Entertainment he relates more to another character from the classic story: “I’d probably be the Scarecrow,” he said. “You know, I left school when I was 18 or 19 … I always wanted the brains, so I went back.”
In 1978, Motown followed the yellow brick road — to the big screen. The musical adventure movie “The Wiz” was based on the hit Broadway show, and it starred Diana Ross as Dorothy. But this Dorothy definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Instead she hailed from Harlem, although she did befriend a familiar cast of characters: A scarecrow (played by Michael Jackson), a Tin Man (Nipsey Russell) and a Cowardly Lion (that’d be actor Ted Ross.) Richard Pryor portrayed the Wizard in the modern day version of the tale.
In an interview on “Soul Train,” Jackson said when he frist saw the Judy Garland version of the movie, he especially loved the Scarecrow: “Most kids do, because you feel sorry for him and everything,” Jackson said. He described his hipper and funkier Scarecrow as, “More razzmatazz.”
Tony Award winning star Kristin Chenoweth played Glinda the Good Witch in a Broadway’s “Wicked” back in 2003. The hit show told “the untold story of the witches of Oz.”
In an interview with Theatermania, Chenoweth talked about her complex character: “Glinda is not all that people think she is,” she said. “She’s beautiful and popular on the surface but she’s very insecure, which is something that she has in common with the green one, Elphaba … What I love playing is that, like so many people we know, Glinda is very complicated. She has issues!”
In 2010, the long running game show “The Price Is Right” featured a Wizard of Oz themed Halloween episode. Host Drew Carey was dressed as the Cowardly Lion, while announcer Jeff Davis was the Scarecrow. During the fun themed show, Carey even got in a dig at Davis, saying, “Oh, if he only had a brain!”
You can see a clip from “The Price is Right” Oz-themed show here.
And in 2011, “The Talk” team took on Oz. The set of the daytime chat fest was transformed into Emerald City, while the entire cast took on Oz alter egos. Sara Gilbert dressed as Dorothy, Julie Chen became the Tin Man, Aisha Tyler played Scarecrow, and Sharon Osbourne made a glam Glinda.
Meanwhile, Cowardly Lion Sheryl Underwood was forced to face one of her biggest fears when she did a segment with an animal expert who brought in black rat snakes, cockroaches, a vulture, a great-horned owl, opossums and one of the world’s largest species of scorpion. That sounds even more terrifying than flying monkeys!
You can see a picture of “The Talk” cast as the cast of “The Wizard of Oz” here.
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