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Dead priest's niece sues Catholic University, public sale home to dam sale of Judy Garland 'Wizard of Oz' costume

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A foyer card from the movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz,’ reveals a movie nonetheless of a scene by which American actress Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) (as Dorothy) wipes tears from the eyes of actor Bert Lahr (1895 – 1967) (because the Cowardly Lion), whereas watched by Jack Haley (1898 – 1979) (because the Tin Man) (left), and Ray Bolger (1904 – 1987) (because the Scarecrow), 1939. The movie was directed by Victor Fleming.

Hulton Archive | Moviepix | Getty Images

Forget the ruby slippers. Dorothy’s costume is now probably the most contentious piece of clothes within the Land of Oz.

The niece of a long-dead priest is suing a New York public sale home to dam the sale of considered one of Judy Garland’s iconic Dorothy frocks from the 1939 traditional movie “The Wizard of Oz.”

The costume was lacking for many years earlier than it was discovered at a Catholic college final 12 months. The priest’s niece, Barbara Hartke, says the dear piece of Hollywood memorabilia belonged to her late uncle.

The blue and white gingham costume, believed to be considered one of six unique attire from the movie is slated to be bought at public sale on May 24 and will snare anyplace between $800,000 and $1.2 million, Bonhams New York stated.

The costume was a present from Mercedes McCambridge, an Academy Award-winning actress and buddy of Garland’s who was artist-in-residence at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., between 1972 and 1973, to Dominican Father Gilbert Hartke, founding father of the college’s drama division. (McCambridge, by the way, is understood for offering the voice of the demon in 1973’s religious-horror traditional “The Exorcist,” which was shot and set in D.C.)

However, after Gilbert Hartke died in 1986, nobody knew what had turn out to be of the costume and it was thought-about misplaced. In June of final 12 months, the costume was present in a white trash bag above the college mail slots throughout a renovation of the college’s Hartke Theater.

While Catholic University has claimed possession of the costume, Hartke’s 81-year-old niece argues that the costume belongs to his property as a result of McCambridge “specifically and publicly” gave it to Gilbert Hartke.

Barbara Hartke, who lives in Wisconsin, named the college and the public sale home as defendants in her lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal courtroom.

The go well with seeks an injunction from the courtroom that will forestall the public sale from happening.

“The University is reviewing the allegations made in the lawsuit at this time and will provide additional information after a thorough review of the complaint,” stated a spokesperson for the college.

A representatives for Bonhams didn’t instantly reply to CNBC’s request for remark.

– CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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