One former Wizard of Oz star says that she’s ashamed that a song from the film has become so popular in the wake of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s death.
Margaret “The Iron Lady” Thatcher is still incredibly controversial more than two decades after she last held office. The division over her policies was highlighted once again as she passed away earlier this week, with some even organizing parties to celebrate her death.
One of the most notable pop culture boosts lately is owed to the 1939 film musical Wizard of Oz. Beyond renewed interest in L. Frank Baum’s fantasy tale thanks to 2013’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, a song from the original flick has topped the charts since Margaret Thatcher’s death.
Can you guess which song? “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.” And former members of the Wizard of Oz cast are reportedly pretty upset about it.
Actress Ruth Duccini said she feels “ashamed” and “very sad” over the song’s renewed popularity, and the association it now has with celebrating Thatcher’s death. She played one of the Munchkins in the Judy Garland film, so her voice is one of many you hear on the track. In an interview with the British publication The Sun, Duccini remarked:
“Nobody deserves to be treated in such a way. When we were filming the movie no one intended it to be used in this way. I am ashamed, I really am.
“Why are they allowed to use the music like that? I thought British people were better than that. I don’t understand them. All over the world ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ is cherished as a family film.
“Moms and dads and their children sit down to watch it together and enjoy the story, songs and dancing. Everyone loves the movie – it is magically heart-warming. This campaign makes me feel very sad.”
Another surviving Munchkin, Jerry Maren, also felt forlorn about the song’s use.
“It is shocking that the song is being used to celebrate the death of someone. It’s a shame that the song is being used in this way.
“Thatcher was a great lady and I’m upset she has passed away. It’s sad that people feel like this. I’m so proud to be a part of one of the greatest films of all time – I hope people respect the memory of the film forever more.”
Apologies if this ruins the song for you, but if you’re playing it right now to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death, that’s absolutely your right. Just know that you’re hurting Munchkin feels.