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Margaret Hamilton biography
Margaret Hamilton was an American actress best known for her iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). Here’s a brief overview of her biography:
- Early Life: Margaret Brainard Hamilton was born on December 9, 1902, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
- Educational Background: Hamilton attended Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland and later studied drama at Wheelock College in Boston.
- Teaching Career: Before pursuing acting full-time, Hamilton worked as a kindergarten teacher. She later shifted her focus to acting and theater.
- Broadway Debut: Hamilton made her Broadway debut in 1929 in the play “Jennie,” and she went on to have a successful career on the New York stage.
- Film Career: Margaret Hamilton is best remembered for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939). Her portrayal of the iconic character earned her a place in film history.
- Wicked Witch Role: Hamilton’s depiction of the Wicked Witch is one of the most memorable and enduring performances in cinematic history. Her cackling laugh and green-skinned appearance became synonymous with the character.
- Typecasting: The success of her role as the Wicked Witch led to typecasting, and she was often associated with villainous characters in subsequent film and television roles.
- Later Career: Despite being typecast, Hamilton had a prolific career in both film and television. She appeared in various roles, including character parts in films such as “My Little Chickadee” (1940) and “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943).
- Television Work: Margaret Hamilton also worked in television, with appearances in shows like “The Addams Family” and “Sesame Street.”
- Children’s Television Workshop: Hamilton was involved with the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) and played the role of the “The Wicked Witch of the West” in a Sesame Street segment, educating children about cooperation.
- Retirement: In the 1960s, Hamilton semi-retired from acting, choosing to focus on her family and other pursuits.
- Honors and Recognition: Margaret Hamilton received various honors and awards throughout her career, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Passing: Margaret Hamilton passed away on May 16, 1985, in Salisbury, Connecticut, at the age of 82.
Margaret Hamilton’s contribution to film, particularly her portrayal of the Wicked Witch, has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Her talent, both on stage and screen, is celebrated as part of the rich history of American cinema.
Trivia of Margaret Hamilton
Certainly! Here are some trivia tidbits about Margaret Hamilton:
- Educational Background: Before pursuing a career in acting, Margaret Hamilton worked as a kindergarten teacher. She initially studied drama at Wheelock College in Boston.
- Broadway Success: Margaret Hamilton had a successful career on Broadway before transitioning to Hollywood. Her Broadway debut was in the play “Jennie” in 1929.
- Typecasting: Margaret Hamilton’s iconic role as the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) led to typecasting. She became associated with villainous characters, often playing roles with a sinister edge.
- Green Makeup: The green makeup used for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch contained copper, and she had to be careful not to ingest it. The makeup was so difficult to remove that Hamilton often found bits of it on her skin for weeks after filming.
- Witch’s Hat: Margaret Hamilton’s witch hat from “The Wizard of Oz” is considered a cultural artifact. It has been featured in exhibitions and is now part of the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
- Sesame Street Appearance: In a memorable episode of “Sesame Street,” Margaret Hamilton reprised her role as the Wicked Witch and taught children about cooperation. This segment became an iconic part of the show.
- Family Connection to “Oz”: Margaret Hamilton’s granddaughter, Hamilton Meserve, made a cameo appearance in the film “Return to Oz” (1985), playing a character named Gretl.
- The Wizard of Oz Festival: In the town of Chesterton, Indiana, there’s an annual Wizard of Oz Festival where Margaret Hamilton is celebrated. The festival features Oz-related activities and attracts fans from around the country.
- Later Television Roles: Hamilton continued to work in television, making appearances on popular shows like “The Addams Family,” “Bewitched,” and “Sesame Street.” Her TV work showcased her versatility as an actress beyond her famous witch role.
- Children’s Book: Margaret Hamilton authored a children’s book titled “My Dog, My Hero,” which was published posthumously in 2000.
- Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: In 1979, Margaret Hamilton was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the entertainment industry.
- Post-Retirement Activities: After semi-retiring from acting in the 1960s, Hamilton focused on her family and other pursuits, including community service and philanthropy.
Margaret Hamilton’s legacy goes far beyond her iconic role in “The Wizard of Oz,” and her contributions to both film and television continue to be celebrated by audiences of all ages.