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Margaret Hamilton

Biography

She became immortalized because the Wicked Witch from the West within the Wizard of Oz. She also made an appearance within the 1960 film 13 Spirits. She practiced performing by carrying out in charitable children’s theaters in Cleveland. The Wicked Witch offers frightened kids for multiple decades and it has been heralded because the biggest female villain ever. She was wedded to Paul Boynton Meserve from 1931 to 1938. She starred within the Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland.

Quick Facts


Full Name Margaret Hamilton
Date Of Birth December 9, 1902
Died May 16, 1985, Salisbury, Connecticut, United States
Place Of Birth Cleveland, OH
Height 1.52 m
Profession Movie Actress
Education Earlham College
Nationality American
Spouse Paul Meserve
Children Hamilton Meserve
Parents Ruth Esther Heafield, Kenneth Heafield
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom
Movies The Wizard of Oz, Journey Back to Oz, My Little Chickadee, Brewster McCloud, 13 Ghosts, Nothing Sacred, George White's Scandals, State of the Union, Broadway Bill, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, The Anderson Tapes, The Daydreamer, Guest in the House, The Witness Chair, The Farmer Takes a Wife, Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Four's a Crowd, Saratoga, A Slight Case of Murder, City Without Men, When's Your Birthday?, Chatterbox, Mountain Justice, The Night Strangler, The Villain Still Pursued Her, Stablemates, Hat, Coat and Glove, The Invisible Woman, The Affairs of Martha, You Only Live Once, Riding High, The Gay Vagabond, The Red Pony, Faithful in My Fashion, Main Street Lawyer, Comin' Round the Mountain, I'll Take Romance, Play Girl, Way Down East, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, Driftwood, Babes in Arms, The Sun Comes Up, The Angels Wash Their Faces, Wabash Avenue, Another Language, By Your Leave, Laughing at Trouble, The Great Plane Robbery
TV Shows The Paul Lynde Halloween Special, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters
Star Sign Sagittarius

  • Facts
  • Filmography
  • Awards
  • Salaries
  • Quotes
  • Trademarks
  • Pictures

#Fact
1 Appeared in an episode of Sesame Street which aired February 10, 1976, reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz (1939). Reportedly, her performance scared so many children that their parents wrote in to CTW, saying their kids were too scared to watch the show anymore. As a result of the overwhelming reaction, this episode never re-aired, and as of 2014, no footage of it has surfaced on the Internet, and the only picture available is one with the Witch standing beside Oscar in his trash can. It is unknown whether or not any footage of it still exists.
2 Would spoof her famous role of The Wicked Witch of The West in a 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special for television. She portrayed the sister of Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf herself being spoofed by actress Billie Hayes.
3 Made her acting debut as an old Englishman in "Pomander Walk" at the Hathaway-Brown High School for Girls. Her singing teacher, Grace Probert, encouraged her theatrical hopes but her father was "dead set against it.".
4 Hamilton was given a six week guarantee on The Wizard of Oz (1939), but shooting stretched into 23 weeks.
5 Profiled in "American Classic Screen Interviews" (Scarecrow Press). [2010]
6 She attended Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts. A school that specializes in working with children and families. She acted in some of the Wheelock Family Theater productions.
7 Remarked during an interview that many children believed that she was mean in real life. She had a hard time to convince them that she was only play acting when she appeared as the Wicked Witch of the West.
8 She knew and accepted that she was not "conventionally glamorous". She often told the story that when her agent first called and told her MGM was interested in talking to her about a role in The Wizard of Oz (1939), she responded, "Oh, I loved reading those books to my kindergarten children. Which role?" Her agent replied: "The witch." Hamilton said: "The witch?" and the agent responded: "Yes, what else?".
9 She said that when sees the scene in The Wizard of Oz (1939) when Frank Morgan as the Wizard is giving Dorothy's friends gifts from his "black bag" (a diploma for the Scarecrow, a ticking heart for the Tin Man, and a medal for the Cowardly Lion), she gets teary eyed, because "Frank Morgan was just like that in real life - very generous.".
10 Wore the same costume for two productions, 26 years apart. The dress she wore as Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) was worn again when she played Grandma Frump in The Addams Family (1964) in 1965.
11 Under her married name of Margaret Meserve, she served on the Beverly Hills Board of Education from 1948 to 1951.
12 Starred in the live on-stage musical "A Little Night Music" (with actress Jean Simmons in the lead role) during the mid-1970s in San Francisco.
13 Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 360-361. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
14 Had one child, son, Hamilton Wadsworth Meserve, on June 12, 1936.
15 For many years, she appeared in Maxwell House coffee commercials as the feisty storekeeper who declares, "It's the only brand I sell!"
16 And Your Little Dog, Too: Miss Hamilton was a strong promoter of animal rights and the welfare of companion animals. She often appeared in TV public service announcements with her cat, pleading that everyone spay and neuter their pets to help cut down on the number of unwanted, homeless animals. She also had a dachshund named Otto.
17 Lived in a Gramercy Park building in New York City that was also occupied by James Cagney and now boasts Jimmy Fallon as one of its tenants.
18 She is a distant cousin of Neil Hamilton.
19 She was cremated and her ashes spread on her Dutchess County, New York estate.
20 Her legendary role as the Wicked Witch of the West was ranked #4 on the American Film Institute's villains list of the 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.
21 Welcomed pen-pal fans to visit her at her New York City apartment in later years.
22 Nearly quit as the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz (1939) after a December 1938 accident in which she was severely burned during her dramatic exit from Munchkinland. The impressive special effect was achieved by her stepping onto a trap door (obscured by rising smoke) that dropped beneath her, and then a burst of real fire came up. On one take, the fire came too early, and her costume caught fire. She was off the film for more than a month. After she recuperated, she said "I won't sue, because I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition - no more fire work!".
23 Gave her most noted recollection of her role in The Wizard of Oz (1939) by writing the Preface to the book "The Making of The Wizard of Oz" by Aljean Harmetz.
24 She was the kindergarten teacher of five-year-old William Windom, until she threw him out for rambunctious behavior. Another of her students was Jim Backus.
25 Until the day she died, she had children recognizing her and coming up to her to ask why she was so mean to Dorothy. She became very concerned about the role's effect on children, and finally did a guest spot on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) to explain that the Witch was just a character in the film, and not herself.
26 It is ironic that her performance as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939) was so scary to children, because her first job was as a kindergarten teacher. She loved and doted upon children all her life.


Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Lou Grant 1979-1982 TV Series Thea Taft
Nurse 1981 TV Series Mrs. Evers
Here's Boomer 1980 TV Series
Letters from Frank 1979 TV Movie Grandma Miller
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood 1975-1976 TV Series Margaret H. Witch
Sesame Street 1976 TV Series Wicked Witch of the West
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters 1973 TV Series Mrs. Eddels
The Partridge Family 1973 TV Series Clara Kincaid
Gunsmoke 1973 TV Series Edsel Pry
The Night Strangler 1973 TV Movie Prof. Crabwell
Journey Back to Oz 1972 Aunt Em (voice)
The Anderson Tapes 1971 Miss Kaler
Is There a Doctor in the House 1971 TV Movie Emma Proctor
Brewster McCloud 1970 Daphne Heap
Angel in My Pocket 1969 Rhoda
Rosie! 1967 Mae
Off to See the Wizard 1967 TV Series The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe
Ghostbreakers 1967 TV Movie Ivy Rumson
The Daydreamer 1966 Mrs. Klopplebobbler
The Addams Family 1965-1966 TV Series Granny Frump Granny Hester Frump
The Patty Duke Show 1963-1964 TV Series Mrs. Williams / Maid
Car 54, Where Are You? 1963 TV Series Miss Powntleroy / Spinster
Make Room for Daddy 1962 TV Series Miss Fenwick
Laramie 1962 TV Series Leora Scofield
The Comedy Spot 1962 TV Series Lizzie
Paradise Alley 1962 Mrs. Nicholson
The Good Years 1962 Narrator
Ichabod and Me 1961 TV Series Mehitabel Hobbs
Play of the Week 1960 TV Series
13 Ghosts 1960 Elaine Zacharides
The Secret World of Eddie Hodges 1960 TV Movie Mrs. Grundy
Dow Hour of Great Mysteries 1960 TV Series Lizzie Arlen
Playhouse 90 1959 TV Series Miss Hoadley
Once Upon a Christmas Time 1959 TV Movie Miss Scugg
The Christmas Tree 1958 TV Movie Miss Finch
Rendezvous 1958 TV Series
The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna 1958 TV Series Mrs. Gibney
The United States Steel Hour 1954-1957 TV Series Sybil Mooner / Mrs. Felton
On Borrowed Time 1957 TV Movie Demetria Riffle
The Phil Silvers Show 1957 TV Series Hermione Nightingale / Miss Gloria Formby
Studio One in Hollywood 1953-1957 TV Series Mrs. McIntosh / Irma Davis / Laura Lawson
The Alcoa Hour 1956 TV Series Mrs. Gillyard
As the World Turns 1956 TV Series Miss Peterson #2 (1970)
The Devil's Disciple 1955 TV Movie Mrs. Dudgeon
Goodyear Playhouse 1955 TV Series Letty
The Best of Broadway 1954-1955 TV Series Usher / Sarah
The Way of the World 1955 TV Series
The Elgin Hour 1954 TV Series Gwen
Kraft Theatre 1954 TV Series
Center Stage 1954 TV Series
Campbell Summer Soundstage 1954 TV Series
The Secret Storm 1954 TV Series Katie (1964-1967)
Valiant Lady 1953 TV Series Mrs. Sayre (1955)
Man Against Crime 1953 TV Series Mrs. Parmalee / Mrs. Barker
Ethel and Albert 1953 TV Series Aunt Eva
Lux Video Theatre 1953 TV Series Charity Ames
A String of Blue Beads 1953 TV Movie Mrs. Loomis
My Hero 1952 TV Series Mrs. Morgan
The Gulf Playhouse 1952 TV Series
People Will Talk 1951 Miss Sarah Pickett - Housekeeper (uncredited)
Comin' Round the Mountain 1951 Aunt Huddy
The Bigelow Theatre 1950-1951 TV Series Mrs. Greenstreet
The Stu Erwin Show 1950 TV Series Mrs. Bracker
Riding High 1950 Edna
Wabash Avenue 1950 Tillie Hutch
The Great Plane Robbery 1950 Mrs. Judd
The Silver Theatre 1950 TV Series Mrs. Greenstreet
The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend 1949 Mrs. Elvira O'Toole (uncredited)
The Red Pony 1949 Teacher
The Sun Comes Up 1949 Mrs. Golightly
Bungalow 13 1948 Mrs. Theresa Appleby
Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven 1948 Ruby Cheever
State of the Union 1948 Norah
Reaching from Heaven 1948 Sophie Manley
Driftwood 1947 Essie Keenan
Pet Peeves 1947 Short Haughty Woman (uncredited)
Dishonored Lady 1947 Mrs. Geiger
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock 1947 Flora
Faithful in My Fashion 1946 Miss Applegate
Janie Gets Married 1946 Mrs. Angles
George White's Scandals 1945 Clarabelle Evans
Guest in the House 1944 Hilda - the Maid
Johnny Come Lately 1943 Myrtle Ferguson
The Ox-Bow Incident 1943 Mrs. Larch (uncredited)
City Without Men 1943 Dora
The Affairs of Martha 1942 Guinevere
Meet the Stewarts 1942 Willametta
Twin Beds 1942 Norah
The Gay Vagabond 1941 Agatha Badger
Play Girl 1941 Josie
The Invisible Woman 1940 Mrs. Jackson
I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now 1940 Mrs. Thriffie
The Villain Still Pursued Her 1940 Mrs. Wilson
My Little Chickadee 1940 Mrs. Gideon
Main Street Lawyer 1939 Lucy, Boggs' Housekeeper
Babes in Arms 1939 Martha Steele
Angels Wash Their Faces 1939 Miss Hannaberry
The Wizard of Oz 1939 Miss Gulch The Wicked Witch of the West
Stablemates 1938 Beulah Flanders
Breaking the Ice 1938 Mrs. Small
Four's a Crowd 1938 Amy
Mother Carey's Chickens 1938 Mrs. Pauline Fuller
A Slight Case of Murder 1938 Mrs. Cagle
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1938 Mrs. Harper
Nothing Sacred 1937 Vermont Drugstore Lady
I'll Take Romance 1937 Margot
Saratoga 1937 Maizie (uncredited)
Mountain Justice 1937 Phoebe Lamb
Good Old Soak 1937 Minnie
When's Your Birthday? 1937 Mossy
You Only Live Once 1937 Hester
Laughing at Trouble 1936 Lizzie Beadle
The Witness Chair 1936 Grace Franklin
The Moon's Our Home 1936 Mitty Simpson
These Three 1936 Agatha
Chatterbox 1936 Emily 'Tippie' Tipton
Way Down East 1935 Martha Perkins
The Farmer Takes a Wife 1935 Lucy Gurget
Broadway Bill 1934 Edna
By Your Leave 1934 Whiffen
There's Always Tomorrow 1934 Ella
Hat, Coat, and Glove 1934 Madame Du Barry
Another Language 1933 Helen Hallam

Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Brewster McCloud 1970 performer: "The Star Spangled Banner"
The Villain Still Pursued Her 1940 performer: "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Night of 100 Stars 1982 TV Special Herself
The Making of 'The Wizard of Oz' 1979 TV Movie documentary Herself
The Mike Douglas Show 1972-1977 TV Series Herself - Actress
The Paul Lynde Halloween Special 1976 TV Special Housekeeper / The Wicked Witch of the West
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood 1975 TV Series Herself / Princess Margaret Lizard
Donahue 1975 TV Series Herself
The David Frost Show 1970 TV Series Herself - Guest
The Merv Griffin Show 1968-1969 TV Series Herself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1968 TV Series Herself - Guest
Discovery 1964 TV Series documentary Herself / The Wicked Witch of the West
That Was the Week That Was 1964 TV Series Herself
The Shari Lewis Show 1963 TV Series Herself / Herself - Guest
Here's Hollywood 1962 TV Series Herself
Startime 1960 TV Series Herself
The Jackie Gleason Show 1954 TV Series Herself
The Paul Winchell Show 1950 TV Series Herself (1953-1954)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien 2009 TV Series The Wicked Witch of the West
To Oz! The Making of a Classic 2009 Video documentary short Herself
The Yellow Brick Road and Beyond 2009 Video documentary Herself / Drugstore Lady / Wicked Witch
Today Tonight 2009 TV Series The Witch
Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration of Oz 2005 Video documentary short The Wicked Witch of the West (uncredited)
Because of the Wonderful Things It Does: The Legacy of Oz 2005 Video documentary short The Wicked Witch of the West
The 100 Greatest Scary Moments 2003 TV Movie documentary The Wicked Witch of the West (uncredited)
The Legend Floyd: The Dark Side of the Rainbow 2000 TV Movie Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West
Great Performances 1996 TV Series Herself
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic 1990 TV Movie documentary Herself
Horrible Horror 1986 Video Elaine Zacharides, In clips from the '13 Ghosts' trailer
Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter 1982 TV Movie documentary Actor - 'Angels Wash Their Faces' (uncredited)
The Invisible Woman 1966 Short Mrs. Jackson
The World of Abbott and Costello 1965 Aunt Huddy in Comin' Round The Mountain
Ford Star Jubilee 1956 TV Series Miss Gulch The Wicked Witch of the West
This Side of Heaven 1934 Actress in Film Clip (edited from 'Another Language') (uncredited)

Won awards

Won awards

YearAwardCeremonyNominationMovieAward shared with
1981 Silver Medallion Award Telluride Film Festival, US · John Carradine
· Elisha Cook Jr.
· Woody Strode
1979 Special Award Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

TitleSalary
The Wizard of Oz (1939) $1,000 /week

#Quote
1 [on being burnt on the set of The Wizard of Oz (1939)] When I looked down at my right hand, I thought I was going to faint... the fire had singed my eyebrows off and burned my cheeks and chin.
2 The Wizard of Oz (1939) keeps coming back every year... because it's such a beautiful film. I don't think any of us knew how lovely it was at first. But, after a while, we all began to feel it coming together - and knew we had something. I can watch it again and again and remember wonderful Judy, Bert, Ray, Jack, Billie, Frank and how wonderful they all were. The scene that always gets to me, though, and I think it's one of the most appealing scenes I've ever seen, is the one where the Wizard gives the gifts to them at the end. Frank (Morgan) was just like that as a person. And every time I see him do it, the tears come to my eyes. I listen to the words. I think of Frank, and I know how much he meant what he said, and how much the words themselves mean.
3 [on her role as the Wicked Witch] I don't look on it as any great shakes of acting, it's not subtle or restrained. It isn't any of the things you like to think might apply to your acting.
4 My only mistake was wanting to do everything; it was so exciting to be in Washington in those days. I don't regret a minute of it, not even when Dorothy kept the Ruby Slippers. If I had it to do over, I'd do the same.
5 [on Judy Garland] Judy kept us all going. When she came on the set, it was as though the lights got brighter. Her freshness and vitality are things I will never forget.
6 Almost always they want me to laugh like the Witch. And sometimes when I go to schools, if we're in an auditorium, I'll do it. And there's always a funny reaction, like Ye gods, they wish they hadn't asked. They're scared. They're really scared for a second. Even adolescents. I guess for a minute they get the feeling they got when they watched the picture. They like to hear it but they don't like to hear it. And then they go, "Oh..." The picture made a terrible impression of some kind on them, sometimes a ghastly impression, but most of them got over it, I guess... Because when I talk like the Witch and when I laugh, there is a hesitation, and then they clap. They're clapping at hearing the sound again.
7 I was in a need of money at the time, I had done about six pictures for MGM at the time and my agent called. I said, 'Yes?' and he said 'Maggie, they want you to play a part on the Wizard.' I said to myself, 'Oh Boy, The Wizard of Oz! That has been my favorite book since I was four.' And I asked him what part, and he said 'The Witch' and I said 'The Witch?!' and he said 'What else?'

#Trademark
1 Distinctive high-pitched voice
2 Rapid-fire delivery of lines
3 Her iconic role as The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
4 Often signed her autographs with the notation of WWW (Wicked Witch of the West).

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