Judy Garland’s time filming one of her iconic films may have been anything but a skip down the Yellow Brick Road.
Sid Luft’s posthumous memoir titled “Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland,” which is being released in paperback on Sept. 4, claims the then-teenage actress was sexually harassed by the little people who starred as “the munchkins” in 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
Luft, a movie producer credited for helping Garland revive her Hollywood career in the 1950s, passed away in 2005 at age 89.
“They would make Judy’s life miserable on set by putting their hands under her dress… The men were 40 or more years old,” wrote Luft, who married the star in 1952, as reported by TheWrap. “They thought they could get away with anything because they were so small.”
Garland herself has claimed the actors were guilty of bad behavior before her own death in 1969 at age 47.
“They were drunks,” she said in a 1967 interview with Jack Paar. “They put them all in one hotel… they got smashed every night, and the police had to pick them up in butterfly nets.”
The star added one of the actors, who was around 40 years old, asked her out on a date.
The rumor concerning the alleged troublesome cast isn’t new. The U.K.’s Independent reported the allegation may have first started with producer Mervyn LeRoy, who reportedly claimed after the movie wrapped: “They had sex orgies in the hotel, and we had to have police on just about every floor.”
However, the claims have been dismissed by the actors.
“There were a lot of them who liked to go out and have a few drinks, but nothing got out of hand,” Margaret Pellegrini, who played a munchkin when she was 15, 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.”
Jerry Maren, recognized as the last surviving munchkin at 98, has previously slammed the claims.
“That was a lot of bulls—t,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 1996. “When were they going to party? Even if they did, there were only two or three that did get drunk, a couple of Irish kids.”
Maren added Garland was “wonderful” to work with.
“We expected her to be a snobby movie star,” he said. “She was more excited at meeting us than we were at meeting her.”
Luft’s memoir was never completed. According to publisher Chicago Review Press, he stopped writing it in 1960 after Garland hired David Begelman and Freddie Fields to manage her career. His marriage to the actress ended in 1965.
Editor Randy l. Schmidt, who previously worked on a book concerning Garland’s career, pieced together the final section of the book from extensive interviews with Luft, most previously unpublished.
Luft served as chief conservator of Garland’s legacy until his death.
The hardcover version of “Judy and I” is currently available on Amazon.