Sure, Leonardo DiCaprio sinks his money into plenty of environmental initiatives, but the guy’s also got a soft spot for cinematic history.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences recently secured an original pair of the slippers worn by Dorothy in the classic “Wizard of Oz.” This “holy grail of all Hollywood memorabilia”, one of four pairs made for the film, will reside in the upcoming Academy Museum. And Leo’s leadership and cash made it all happen.
“Leo’s passionate leadership has helped us bring home this legendary piece of movie history,” said 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.”
The 37-year-old actor spearheaded a group that included Steven Spielberg and co-chair of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Terry Semel, among others. In a statement released yesterday, however, the Academy acknowledged DiCaprio as the main benefactor.
“Of the four pairs of authentic ruby slippers known to exist, this pair offered by Profiles in History, marked ‘#7 Judy Garland’ and known as the ‘Witch’s Shoes,’ are the most important and most valuable,” Oz expert and author Rhys Thomas said in the release.
Last November, DiCaprio co-chaired an inaugural fundraiser for the LACMA movie museum, raising some $3M from such attendees as Clint Eastwood, Kate Hudson, Ron Howard, Olivia Wilde, Jane Fonda and Harvey Weinstein.
“As a native of Los Angeles, I want to personally thank everyone associated with LACMA,” The Hollywood Reporter quoted DiCaprio in his remarks. “Your commitment to serve the public through conservation, exhibitions and your interpretation of significant works of art continues to have a valuable impact on our community here in Los Angeles.”
Organizers hope to open the new museum in as little as three years.