Leonardo DiCaprio led donors to enable purchase

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has acquired a pair of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” its first major acquisition since announcing fund-raising chair Bob Iger in December.

Leonardo DiCaprio led a group of “angel donors” whose gifts to the Academy Foundation enabled the purchase. In addition to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a component fund of CCF Environmental and Humanitarian Causes, donations came from producer-director Steven Spielberg and Terry Semel, co-chair of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the former chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. and Yahoo, along with other donors.

“The ruby slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audiences the world over,” Iger said. “This is a transformative acquisition for our collection.”

“Leo’s passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history,” added Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “It’s a wonderful gift to the Academy museum project and a perfect representation of the work we do year-round to preserve and share our film heritage.”

These slippers, known as “the Witch’s Shoes,” are in the most pristine condition of the four pairs of ruby slippers known to exist. It is widely believed that these are the slippers Judy Garland wore in closeups and insert shots, most famously when Dorothy clicks her heels three times to return to Kansas. They are called “the Witch’s Shoes” because they are likely the pair seen on the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East after Dorothy’s house falls on the witch.

The Academy announced a partnership with LACMA in October to lease the former May Co. building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax to serve as the movie museum’s home.

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