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The Wizard Of Oz Actor Who Was Surprisingly Paid More Than The Munchkins

The 1939 technicolor classic "The Wizard of Oz" has been the source of backstage drama ever since it first played across screens worldwide. Millions of people have enjoyed Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her friends' journey to Oz since then, and watching it became a yearly tradition as the film founds its way to network and cable television. Outside of the film's story and characters, people still love to talk about how Buddy Ebsen's violent allergic reaction to his Tin Man makeup resulted in his hospitalization and replacement with Jack Haley. 

There are other assorted rumors and behind-the-scenes disasters attached to the movie, but we're here today to talk about dollars and cents.  Is it true that the Munchkins were underpaid and made less than half of the amount of a certain actor in the film? Not only is it accurate, but you probably would never have guessed the correct name. Spoiler: they're not in Kansas.

Terry the Terrier was a well-paid pupper

According to Good Housekeeping, Terry – the female Cairn Terrier who played Toto in the film — pulled in $125 a week, which translates to $2,365 through the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator. The dog's handlers always wished they'd asked for more money because the producers were so keen to cast the pup. 

That was a fortune compared to how little the singing and speaking Munchkins made during a week's worth of work: $50, or $946 after the inflation adjustment. Terry clearly had the better agent when it came to negotiating a salary. 

Perhaps the extra money for the dog ultimately amounted to hazard pay; Terry did her own stunts, and even suffered a broken leg after a Winkie guard accidentally stepped on her. 

Terry's handlers eventually renamed her Toto in 1944 in response to the film's success, and the dog would go on to appear in productions such as "The Women" and "Tortilla Flat" before passing away at the age of 11 in 1949. With the 2021 equivalent of a six-figure salary during production of "The Wizard of Oz," Terry/Toto lived a life that was the envy of many other dogs.