Oz Casting

29 09 2010

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Shirley Temple and the unique fact that she once lived in D.C. Today, I discovered another well known actress of a similar vintage who also lived in Washington. This actress however, was older than Miss Temple, and the two actresses almost even starred in one of the most well known and well loved movies together:

But alas, Shirley Temple was too young and that’s ok, because Judy Garland is amazing. But this post is neither about Shirley Temple, nor Judy Garland. It is about the woman who played Glinda the Good Witch, Billie Burke.

Miss Burke was born in Washington, D.C. and her original name was the lengthy, Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke. She was married to the famous Mr. Ziegfeld (of “Ziegfeld’s Follies”) and her career started in the circus with her family. Maybe the circus was not so far behind a bizarre movie, such as, “The Wizard of Oz.” Interestingly enough, Burke was a whopping 53 years old when she portrayed possibly her best known role in The Wizard of Oz.

It seems Burke has been in many movies with very popular movie stars. In addition to Judy Garland, Burke has shared the screen with other house-hold names, such as Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in 1951’s, “Father’s Little Dividend.” Burke was also in Katherine Hepburn’s film debut (Burke played Hepburn’s mother) in the movie,”A Bill of Divorcement” from 1932.

Frankly, I think it’s just pretty neat that such a well known actress was a native of Washington, D.C. Normally, when people recount local-born celebrities, you frequently only hear of those born in the last 50 years or so, such as Tim Gunn, Samuel L. Jackson, Mo Rocca, and Ben Stein. However, when I discover a well known person from say, before my parents were born, I think that is just as neat, if not more note-worthy. It just goes to show you that some of the most famous people have had their stay in D.C.

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