The producers of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ had so many troubles to find the best cast for the film. In the case of Dorothy, the American singer and actress Judy Garland was chosen to play the role. But it took quite a long way to make the decision.
She was originally called Frances Ethel Gumm but later she changed her name to Judy Garland. She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1935. She was only 13 but she looked older (but still too young to play adult roles). From the very beginning, the producers wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy, but she was too young. They realised that Judy Garland was the perfect actress because she looked like an ordinary girl and had a great voice.
She had to lose some weight to play in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, but according to her daughter Liza Minnelli in several interviews, she had a great time. She was only 16, so it was such a wonderful experience for her. She couldn’t imagine the impact of the movie and specially the popularity of ‘Over the Rainbow’.
Dorothy Gale is a lovely character for many reasons. She expresses a lot of emotions and values that are important in society. For example, she learns that her family is important and she needs to look after them. Many kids love her because they can feel related to her. She protects her dog Toto and she is a very good girl, but she is anxious to discover the world, to be independent, but also needs to be careful.
After ‘The Wizard of Oz’, the actress Judy Garland became very popular in the industry. She received an Academy Juvenile Award in 1940 for her performance on this musical and some other films. It’s an especial award for all the young actors and actresses in Hollywood. Garland was very lucky to have it, but also helped her to improve her career.