WOZ Lion costume joins TCM/Bonhams Auction

TCM                        Bonhams


Iconic Cowardly Lion Costume Prepares to Reign Over TCM and Bonhams' November Auction

TCM Presents: There's No Place Like Hollywood Auction Set for Monday, Nov. 24 in New York

The Cowardly LionThe original Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr in the beloved classic The Wizard of Oz (1939) is ready to be crowned "king of the forest" during TCM Presents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood, a definitive auction of rare movie collectibles to be held at Bonhams in New York on Monday, Nov. 24. Fans can check out the Cowardly Lion costume and many other items from the auction during a pair of preview exhibitions to be held at Bonhams' locations in New York (Nov. 20-24) and Los Angeles (Nov. 6-9).

In addition to the Cowardly Lion costume, the There's No Place Like Hollywood auction will feature such Wizard of Oz memorabilia as actor Bert Lahr’s original script; the Witch Remover prop wielded by the Cowardly Lion in pursuit of the Wicked Witch; and an assortment of indelible Munchkin, Flying Monkey and Emerald City costumes. As previously announced, the sale will also feature a blue gingham "test" dress and pinafore worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy during the essential pre-production period, when costumes, hairstyles and all artistic aspects of moviemaking are refined prior to filming.

The Cowardly Lion costume was specifically worn by Bert Lahr in a number of iconic scenes, including when he first meets Dorothy and her friends along the Yellow Brick Road; as he sings the songs "If I Only Had the Nerve" and "If I Were King of the Forest," when he skips down the Yellow Brick Road on the way to Oz, when he helps rescue Dorothy, when the Wicked Witch melts, when the Wizard awards him a medal for "conspicuous acts of bravery" and when Dorothy clicks her heels together to return to her Kansas farm home.

For famed MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian, the only option for creating a realistic lion costume in 1938 was to fashion it out of actual lion hides. He was challenged with locating several that visually matched each other so a few costumes could be made and used interchangeably throughout filming. Adrian soon discovered, however, that every available lion hide had very distinctive colors, hair patterns and scars, so he had no choice but to dress Lahr primarily in a single costume throughout filming.

In the Hollywood memorabilia art market, coveted costumes are often worn in one stellar scene or even a single memorable moment, but this Cowardly Lion costume – screen-matched by the distinctive features of the lion hide – was worn in more than a dozen scenes, making it a cultural touchstone. The costume has been given the white glove treatment by conservators at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the make-up was reproduced with the direct involvement of Bert Lahr's family and members of the special effects team who worked on Jurassic Park.

Other items previously announced for the auction include costumes from Gone With the Wind (1939), The Outlaw (1943). Gilda (1946), Easter Parade (1948), Mogambo (1953), River of No Return (1954), North By Northwest (1959), Bells Are Ringing (1960), The Misfits (1961), Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Way We Were (1973), The Towering Inferno (1974), Rooster Cogburn (1975), Yentl (1983), When Harry Met Sally… (1989), Pretty Woman (1990) and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). The auction will also feature pieces from such comedy teams as Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello and The Three Stooges; portraits of legendary stars like Rudolph Valentino and Veronica Lake; and more the 50 vintage movie posters from the private collection of TCM host Robert Osborne. Information about the There's No Place Like Hollywood auction is available online at

Last November, TCM and Bonhams teamed up on their first auction together, the highly successful What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic at Auction, as Curated by Turner Classic Movies. The auction included such items as the (1940 Buick Phaeton featured in the dramatic final scene of Casablanca and a Maltese Falcon statuette used in John Huston's classic film, which set a new milestone for a movie prop by drawing a record-setting bid of over $4 million.

Earlier this year, Bonhams returned for the third time as an official partner of the TCM Classic Film Festival. As part of its sponsorship each year, Bonhams hosts a valuation session for select festival passholders on the final day of TCM's annual star-studded gathering. In addition to its complimentary appraisals at the TCM Classic Film Festival, Bonhams hosts an early preview of highlights from upcoming auctions, including rare collectibles associated with festival programming.


TCM Presents: There's No Place Like Hollywood – Newly Added Items

Costumes and Props from The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume
The Cowardly Lion's Witch Remover spray dispenser
Emerald City townsman's jacket
Emerald City worker's Oz t-shirt


About Bonhams

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is the world’s third largest auctioneer of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to


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About The Film Foundation

Created in (1990 by Martin Scorsese, The Film Foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with the leading archives and studios around the globe, the foundation raises awareness of the urgent need for preservation and has saved over 620 films. In addition to the preservation, restoration, and presentation of classic cinema, the foundation teaches young people about film language and history through The Story of Movies, the organization’s groundbreaking educational curriculum that is used by over 100,000 educators nationwide. Joining Scorsese on the board of directors are Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, George Lucas, Alexander Payne, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg. The Film Foundation is aligned with the Directors Guild of America.


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Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. TCM, which is available in more than 85 million homes, features the insights of hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. Currently in its 20th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials; film series like The Essentials, hosted by Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore, and Friday Night Spotlight; and annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February, Summer Under the Stars in August and TCM Essentials Jr. during the summer. TCM also connects with movie fans through such events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

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Publicity Contacts

TCM – Heather Sautter

Bonhams – Vyoma Venkatarama