Thanks to some financial assistance from luminaries such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg, a pair of Dorothy's famed ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz was acquired by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy announced today.
The slippers will become a prized exhibit at the planned Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will eventually be housed at the former May Co. building now known as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art West on Wilshire Boulevard.
“The ruby slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audiences the world over,” said Bob Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. and chairman of the capital campaign for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. “This is a transformative acquisition for our collection.”
According to the Academy, DiCaprio led a group of “angel donors” who made the purchase possible. Other donors included Spielberg and Terry Semel, the co-chair of LACMA and former chairman/CEO of Warner Bros. and Yahoo!
The slippers are one of four authentic pairs known to exist from the classic 1939 film. According to the Academy, the pair it purchased is in the best condition of the group. The shoes are known as the “Witch's Shoes,” because they are believed to be the ones on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy's house falls on her. They are also believed to have been worn by Judy Garland in close-ups, including the iconic scene in which she clicks her heels while repeating, “There's no place like home.”
Four pairs of the ruby slippers were found on the MGM Culver City lot in 1970 by costumer Kent Warner while preparing for an auction of movie props. Warner kept the “Witch's Shoes” for years before eventually selling them at auction.
The auction house Profiles in History handled the sale as part of its most recent Hollywood Icons auction. The Academy did not specify the purchase price, but Profiles in History had estimated the worth of the shoes at $2million to $3 million prior to the auction.
Another pair of Dorothy's ruby slippers is at the Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C., but they were expected to be taken off public display Thursday so they can be restored in preparation for an exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
Be sure to like Culver City Patch on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.