Did Judy Garland Make Less Money Doing the Wizard of the Oz Than the Dog Who Played Toto?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Judy Garland did not make as much money for making The Wizard of Oz as the dog who played Toto in the film.

Judy Garland was a young actress under contract with Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) when she made the Wizard of Oz.

As a result, her salary for the film seems quite low compared to the other actors in the film.

This has led to a story that has made its way around the internet that Garland actually made less money than the dog who played her pet, Toto!

The exact quote (you can find it in a number of places) is:

For the movie the Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland was paid $35 a week while Toto received $125 a week.

Is that true?

This is a pretty straightforward case of nope, that’s not true.

Eric Gjovaag, my personal favorite Wizard of Oz expert, has the facts at his awesome Wizard of Oz FAQ.

As it turned out, Garland made $500 a week while Terry (the dog who played Toto) and her trainer, Carl Spitz, were paid $125 per week.

Do note that after the film ended, MGM tore up Garland’s contract and gave her a sizable raise.

The legend is…


hanks, Eric, for clearing up this little bit of misinformation!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

One Response to “Did Judy Garland Make Less Money Doing the Wizard of the Oz Than the Dog Who Played Toto?”

  1. You’re welcome! I must cite my source for this information, Aljean Harmetz’s book “The Making of The Wizard of Oz” (which has a new seventy-fifth anniversary edition out now). She includes ALL of the salaries earned by the principal cast members, and they’re quite eye-opening.

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