Sid Luft, Judy Garland's ex-husband, claims in a posthumous memoir that the revered actress was groped during the production of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz by the actors portraying the Munchkins. Luft's allegations appear in the new book Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland, CBS News reported Wednesday.
"They would make Judy’s life miserable on set by putting their hands under her dress," Luft, who was married to Garland from 1952 to 1965, wrote. "The men were 40 or more years old. They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small." At the time of the film's production, Garland was 16.
In a 1967 interview, Garland recalled the actors who portrayed the Munchkins' alleged tendency toward intoxication. "They were little drunks," she said at the time, according to the Guardian. "They got smashed every night and the police used to scoop them up in butterfly nets." Producer Mervyn LeRoy once said the actors "had orgies in the hotel" after shooting wrapped. "We had to have police on about every floor," LeRoy said. "To make a picture like The Wizard of Oz, everybody had to be a little drunk with imagination."
Actress Margaret Pellegrini, however, refuted these claims in a later interview. "There were a lot of them who liked to go out and have a few drinks, but nothing got out of hand," Pellegrini, who played a Munchkin in Oz, told the Independent in 2009. "Everyone was having a good time and enjoying themselves. There was no rowdiness or anything like that, and those stories are very upsetting."