Judy Garland was immortalized as she happily skipped down the Yellow Brick Road with the Munchkins in one of the most beloved movies of all time, “The Wizard of Oz.” However, her ex-husband claims that in real life the then-teenage actress was tormented by the Munchkins and was repeatedly sexually harassed by them on set.
“They would make Judy’s life miserable on set by putting their hands under her dress … The men were 40 or more years old,” Sid Luft wrote in new, posthumous memoir titled “Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland.”
“They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small,” he said.
Garland married tour manager/producer Luft, her third husband, in June 1952 and they had two children together before divorcing in 1965.
The actress was 17 when “The Wizard of Oz” was released in 1939 and discussed the Munchkin actors’ bad behavior in an 1967 interview with Jack Parr.
“They were little drunks … They got smashed every night, and they picked them up in butterfly nets,” she said.
While there has been repeated reports over the decades detailing the Munchkins rowdy drunken parties and alleged orgies while they were filming on Sony’s Culver City lot, the last surviving Munchkin Jerry Maren has denied the alcohol-fueled stories.
“How could you get drunk on $50 a week?” he asked, according to People. “There were a couple of kids from Germany who liked to drink beer. They drank beer morning, noon and night, and got in a little trouble. They wanted to meet the girls, but they were the only ones.”
Garland was found dead in her rented London house on June 22, 1969, with the coroner later concluding that her cause of death was “an incautious self-overdosage of barbiturates,” but was unintentional and showed no evidence that she committed suicide..
Luft died in September 2005 from an apparent heart attack. He was 89.
“Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland” is published by Chicago Review Press and currently available on Amazon.com.