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Margaret Hamilton with Oscar

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Margaret Hamilton (1902-1985) was a sharp-featured character actress who specialized in tart spinsters, housekeepers, and nosey neighbors, but whose greatest fame came from her dual portrayal of Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West (a role later essayed by Miss Piggy) in MGM's film The Wizard of Oz. She reprised the role on Sesame Street in Episode 0847, an appearance that led to criticism from parents.[1]

During the 1970s, Hamilton also appeared on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and Captain Kangaroo, usually as herself, displaying a softer, more grandmotherly image.

Hamilton's film career, which spanned four decades, included such movies as Broadway Bill (and its 1950 remake Riding High), My Little Chickadee (opposite W. C. Fields and Mae West), Way Down East and You Only Live Once (both with Henry Fonda), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Red Pony, Comin' Round the Mountain (with Abbott and Costello), the Rankin/Bass fantasy The Daydreamer, and the animated feature Journey Back to Oz (with Ethel Merman as the Witch, and Hamilton as Auntie Em). Television credits, in addition to children's fare, included appearances on the soap opera As the World Turns, Gunsmoke, The Addams Family (as Morticia's mother), the TV movie The Night Strangler, and Lou Grant, guest starring opposite Edward Asner as journalist Thea Taft in two episodes, her final screen appearances. She did a series of 1970s Maxwell House Coffee commercials as country shopkeeper Cora.

Sources

  1. Memorandum. April 4, 1976. Accessed at the CTW Archives.

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