In ‘The Wizard of Oz’ there are two different kind of witches, a good one and a bad one. In the first hand, Glinda is the Witch of the North, who helps the people of Munchkinland, but there is also the Wicked Witch of the West, who gets furious after her sister is dead. The producers couldn’t decide which actress would play the role of a bad witch.
Two years before ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was released, in 1937, Walt Disney presented his first animated movie ‘Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs’. It was an absolutely success. And the producer Mervyn LeRoy got inspired by something he saw on the film: the evil queen wasn’t ugly. All the producers of the movie agreed that the Wicked Witch of the West should be ugly, like all witches are. But LeRoy said that maybe she could be seductive and attractive like in Snowhite.
The producers were terrified by the idea, but they gave him a try. They found the American actress Gale Sondergaard and they asked her to play the role. She had won the Oscar award the year before for her role in ‘Anthony Adverse’. She tried some costumes but the producers protested that she looked too sexy. Mervyn LeRoy had to accept it and they tried some makeup to make her ugly. The result was horrible. She rejected the role because she wasn’t prepared to look ugly. She admitted many years later that she didn’t regret of that because at that time she wasn’t ready to perform in those conditions, she was afraid that it would affect on her career.
In that case, the producers had to find for another actress. And they found Margaret Hamilton, who had done already 6 films for MGM at that time. She was divorced and she had some economic problems, so she was pleased to play the role. We remember her for this part, even she was wearing a lot of makeup and was evil and scary for children.