Catholic University says it owns Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz dress
A lobbying card from the movie ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, showing a still film scene in which American actress Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) (as Dorothy) wipes tears from her eyes actor Bert Lahr (1895 – 1967) (as the Cowardly Lion), while Jack Haley (1898 – 1979) (Tin Man) (left), and Ray Bolger (1904 – 1987) (as Scarecrow) ), 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming.
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Catholic University of America won’t surrender to Dorothy’s dress – without a fight in court.
The university asserted in a new statement to CNBC that it – and not the property of a late priest and drama professor – was the “legitimate owner” of her once-lost dress. Judy Garland in the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz.”
The University of Washington, DC, also states that a New lawsuit filed by niece of Priest Gilbert Hartkeintended to prevent an upcoming auction of a blue and white gingham dress, which “has no basis in law or fact.”
Gilbert Hartke was given the dress in 1973.
The school’s statement came as the attorney for Hartke’s 81-year-old niece asked a federal judge in New York City in a new court filing to issue a temporary order that would at least postpone the auction of the dress. on May 24 on behalf of the university. . The dress is expected to fetch $1 million or more in an auction hosted by Bonham’s in Los Angeles.
Hartke, as a Roman Catholic priest and member of the Dominican Order, “swore an oath of poverty,” the school noted in the statement.
“He swore not to accept or accept any gift of his own personal property and at the time of his death did not have any tangible items in his possession,” the Catholic University said. know.
“In fact, an inventory of Father Hartke’s estate conducted in 1987 listed nothing of personal property or any tangible property of any kind, though other gifts recorded to Father Hartke for the benefit of the Catholic University over the years.
“The Catholic University is the rightful owner of the dress, and Father Hartke’s property has no property interest in it,” the school said.
In a court petition filed Friday seeking a temporary restraining order banning the auction, an attorney for Hartke’s niece, Barbara Ann Hartke, said the Wisconsin woman would suffer “irreparable injury.” heal” if Bonham’s auction is allowed to proceed prior to the settlement of her case. claim ownership of the dress using her uncle’s estate.
Because the plaintiff’s property is owned by Defendant and will be sold to the highest bidder, the plaintiff will lose the ability to reclaim her title and/or assets of the estate after the call. auction takes place,” Barbara Hartke’s attorney, Anthony Scordo, also argued in his filing in United States District Court in Manhattan.
Scordo also wrote, “There is a strong public interest for the court to issue an order here.”
“This property…is important to the American public for the reasons outlined in the Verified Complaint. The fact is that a substantial portion of Americana will not be in the public domain and will be subject to the destruction of the property. lost forever,” Scordo wrote.
This dress is one of two that is said to still exist among the dresses created for Garland to wear in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz”. The other is the dress. was auctioned in 2015 by Bonham’s for over $1.5 million.
Judge Paul Gardephe has yet to rule on the motion to seek an interim order. Neither Bonham’s nor Scordo responded to requests for comment.
CNBC revealed earlier this week that Barbara Hartke was suing the university and Bonham’s after she said she only learned recently from the press that a dress given to her uncle would soon be auctioned off after being lost. lost for decades.
The dress was found last July in a trash bag in the university’s drama department.
The Catholic University wanted to sell the dress to raise money for the drama school founded by Gilbert Hartke.
The priest was given the dress in 1973 by his friend, actress Mercedes McCambridge, who credited him with helping her deal with her alcoholism.
At the time McCambridge gave him the dress, she was voicing the demon Pazuzu in the horror film “The Exorcist”, which was filmed in Washington.
She previously won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1949 for her performance in “All the King’s Men” and was nominated in the same category for her performance in “Giant”, with starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson.
Gilbert Hartke He himself was a prominent figure in the Washington theater who is “very manly about town,” comfortable at the White House and in DC’s powerhouses as he rubs against the political and social elite of the capital city, Articles washington noted in his 1986 obituary when he died at the age of 79.
Hartke was also one of two Catholic priests asked by President John Kennedy’s widow to stay with his body at the White House before the funeral after the 1963 assassination attempt.
But despite its high reputation, Hartke as a priest bound by his vows of poverty, the Catholic University noted in Friday’s statement that the school is the rightful owner of the bike. skirt.
“The Catholic University understands the solemnity of these oaths, as did McCambridge and Father Hartke at the time of the donation to the Catholic University,” the statement said. “In keeping with these vows, the dress is a gift to continue Father Hartke’s important legacy in building the School of Drama at Catholic University.
“The University’s research into contemporaneous sources and evidence fully demonstrates McCambridge’s intention to donate the dress in support of drama students at Catholic University. The complaint offers no evidence to the contrary. .”
The university said when the dress was discovered last summer, “Catholic College did not contact Father Hartke’s family because the dress was donated to Catholic University for the benefit of Rome School students.” .”
Barbara Hartke’s attorney Scordo, in the motion seeking to block the auction, argued that delaying the planned sale of the dress until her lawsuit is resolved would not harm the University’s finances. Catholic or Bonham school.
“Execution of the order herein is valid and will not place an undue burden on the defendants,” Scordo wrote.
“The defendant cannot argue that the delay in the auction of the property will cause
any harm no matter how much time has passed since the deceased’s death. Not available
shows that fair market value would be subject to any real change if auction were to take place
adjourned pending resolution of this lawsuit. “
But Scordo said Barbara Hartke “would have been the loser here if this auction hadn’t been banned.”