There is new incentive for the return of a pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the cinematic classic The Wizard of Oz. An anonymous fan has offered a $1 million reward for the slippers, which were stolen nearly ten years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota.
Judy Garland actually wore four different sets of ruby red slippers in her iconic role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. The ruby red slippers provided the pivotal moment for Garland’s character’s return home, after clicking her heels together.
The anonymous donor is said to be an avid Judy Garland and Oz fan, and the reward comes with stipulations. First, the exact location of the slippers must be given, and second, the identity of the thief must be divulged. Garland’s ruby red kicks were insured for $1 million at the time of their theft in August of 2005. It is estimated that the slippers are now worth two to three times that.
The three remaining pairs of Garland’s ruby red slippers are accounted for. One pair of Garland’s slippers are in the Smithsonian in the Popular Culture wing of the National Museum of American History. A second pair was sold in auction to David Elkouby, a memorabilia shop owner in Hollywood, though he has yet to display them. The third pair of Garland’s infamous ruby red shoes were purchased in 2012 by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his associates to ensure Garland’s slippers’ place in movie history for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum.
Judy Garland was only 17 when she portrayed her breakout role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. A talented actress, dancer, and singer, Garland struggled with alcohol and drug addiction as well as other personal issues before passing away from an accidental drug overdose at the young age of 47.
Though most of Judy Garland’s professional accolades came later in her career with a Golden Globe for her performance in A Star is Born, two Grammy wins, and three Emmy nominations, it was Garland’s role as The Wizard of Oz‘s Dorothy Gale that sealed her fate as an iconic movie figure. And it was Garland’s ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz that represented a shift in cinema as filmmakers embraced color movies as opposed to black and white.
As the theft of the slippers approaches the ten-year mark, classic film fanatics are hoping that the new and hefty $1 million reward will help bring back a piece of film history, because, as Judy Garland would say, “there’s no place like home.”
[Image courtesy of Smithsonian]