The fabled red heels called Ruby Slippers from classic film "The Wizard of Oz" will soon find their home at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum. On Wednesday, February 22, the AMPAS announced that actor Leonardo DiCaprio has become the primary benefactor who bought the iconic shoes worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie for the yet-to-be-completed museum.
DiCaprio has led a group called "angel donors", whose gifts to the Academy Foundation enabled the purchase. Members of the group include filmmaker Steven Spielberg and Terry Semel, who is the co-chairman of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as well as the former chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. Pictures and Yahoo.
Academy CEO, Dawn Hudson, said of DiCaprio's action, "Leo's passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history." He continued, "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."
Bob Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Co. and chair of the capital campaign for the AMPAS, chimed in, "The Ruby Slippers occupy an extraordinary place in the hearts of movie audience the world over." He added, "This is a transformative acquisition for our collection."
The donated pumps, which are also known as "the Witch's Shoes", are one of four Ruby Slippers pairs worn by Garland's Dorothy in "Wizard of Oz". The shoes are believed to be the ones Garland donned during a close-up and the famous scene of Dorothy clicking her heels three times to return to Kansas.
Author of "The Ruby Slippers of Oz", Rhys Thomas, branded the shoes "the holy grail of all Hollywood Memorabilia." He added, "Of the four pairs of the authentic ruby slippers known to exist, the pair offered by Profiles in History, marked '#7 Judy Garland' and known as the 'Witch Shoes', are the most important and most valuable."
The most famous shoes in movie history are expected to be put on display at the Academy museum as it takes residency in Wilshire's May Company building. The AMPAS, however, still hasn't set an opening date for the planned museum.