Judy Garland was the teenage girl who played Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz, an MGM musical film released by MGM in 1939. Her performance as the girl from Kansas named Dorothy won her a special Juvenile Oscar and gave her a theme song for the rest of her life: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
The song was initially deleted after executives from MGM thought the movie was too long, but good sense prevailed and it was restored to the movie and survived to become one of the most recognized music of the century.
Many people often refer to Judy Garland as Dorothy, it was the character that put her on the Hollywood map and followed her throughout her life and career. Shirley Temple, then the most popular child star, was originally set to play Dorothy on loan, but her home studio (20th Century Fox) refused to release her to MGM for the movie.
The Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy thought that Shirley Temple's singing voice was not quite up to the standard for the role anyway, so the part of Dorothy was given to Judy Garland who had the singing talent, natural acting ability, star quality and charisma . She toured with her two older sisters known as "The Gumm Sisters" in the vaudeville circuit with moderate success, then later appeared in seven movies before she landed the starring role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
Her salary for The Wizard of Oz was $ 500 per week. Although $ 500 was a lot of money in those days, she was still the least well paid main actors in the movie, except Toto, the dog who was paid $ 125 per week.
Toto was actually a female dog whose real name was Terry. Judy Garland was so attached to the small cairn terrier and she wanted to keep her after the movie, but Terry is a highly valued animal actor by her owner and they did want to let her go.
The blue gingham pinafore dress and ruby shoes that she wore in the Wizard of Oz is considered one of the most iconic costumes in Hollywood history. Even to this day, when people see this costume, "Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz" comes to their mind.
Judy Garland's performance as Dorothy proved to be the high point of her career, and she will always be remembered as one of the most strikingly beautiful and talented stars ever to grace Hollywood.