The dramatic story of an iconic movie costume from “The Wizard of Oz” thought lost for decades went through another plot twist Monday, when a judge blocked its planned sale at auction, TODAY reported via the Associated Press.
One of the blue-and-white checked gingham dresses that Judy Garland wore in 1939 for her role as Dorothy was scheduled to be part of an auction of Hollywood memorabilia in Los Angeles on Tuesday, put up for sale by Catholic University of America. The dress was rediscovered at the school last year in a shoebox during preparations for a renovation.
Auctioneer Bonhams listed a presale estimate of $800,000 to $1.2 million for the dress before it was withdrawn.
But U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan granted a motion for a preliminary injunction after a hearing in a lawsuit filed by a relative of Father Gilbert Hartke, who worked at the university and was given the dress in 1973.
Hartke died in 1986; a niece, Barbara Ann Hartke, 81, filed a lawsuit against the school and the auctioneer earlier this month after media accounts that the dress was going up for auction.
In her lawsuit, she said that as her uncle’s closest living relative, the dress belongs to her. She says it was given to him as a personal gift by actress Mercedes McCambridge.