Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume from the Wizard of Oz
Sold for $3,077,000 in New York, 24 November 2014

Art Market Review

Issue 9, July - December 2014

Page 40

For many film goers, the Cowardly Lion played by Bert Lahr, is the most endearing and sympathetic character in The Wizard of Oz. Creating his costume, however, posed a real problem for the studio. These were the days before synthetic fur so the production team had no option but to use real lion skins. The challenge was to find lion hides that looked enough alike for several costumes to be made and used interchangeably throughout filming. This proved impossible, as each available lion hide had very particular markings that were unique to the one animal. The only solution was for Lahr to wear one costume throughout filming and for stunt and stand-in performers to wear another. This costume was used in over a dozen different scenes in which the Cowardly Lion character appears. These are not only the most iconographic scenes of The Wizard of Oz – the most watched film of all time – but they are among the most memorable in cinematic history.

Lucy Carr
Specialist for Entertainment America

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