Bert Lahr

Treading the boards

His roar wasn’t as fearsome as MGM’s Leo, but as the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” Lahr created an association just as iconic. After an apprenticeship in vaudeville, he made his name in burlesque, honing the broad style he played to perfection in “Oz.” A comic titan on Broadway from the late ’20s through the early ’60s, his fame helped anchor “Du Barry Was a Lady” (1939) and “Two on the Aisle” (1951). When he played Estragon in the Broadway premiere of Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” he found clowning’s serious side. Fittingly enough, he died going on with the show, while filming “The Night They Raided Minsky’s.”

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