(Oz was his only film and Carroll often appeared at charitable, retail and Oz-related events, saying:)
"It's not me; it's the movie. When they see me, they think of their childhood, and it makes them smile."
While Carroll — born Michael Finocchiaro on July 8, 1919 — was being wonderfully humble, it is true that The Wizard Of Oz taps into something magical. Something about the story of a girl on an adventure with her dog — aided by sparkly! shoes! — gets a fierce grip on the imagination and just won't let go. Why else do you think The Wiz might be returning to Broadway? Orlando Jones of Mad TV and those Make 7 Up Yours commercials — as well as numerous films — has been cast as the Wiz. LaChanze, who won a Tony for The Color Purple, will play Glinda; R&B singer Ashanti will play Dorothy, and the the Encores! Summer Stars production of the musical will run in New York June 12 through July 5 as sort of a Broadway tryout. As a fan, I'm hoping this new version of The Wiz doesn't suck. With any luck, it'll make it to Broadway, where new audiences will fall in love with Dorothy — and her little dog, too.