An entire book could be written about all the sordid details regarding the production of “The Wizard of Oz,” however a few notable points stand out.
First, Louis B. Mayer, the studio head of MGM, forced Garland to endure an insane diet that was incredibly detrimental to her health. In order to maintain a waif-like figure, she subsisted on chicken soup, black coffee, and upwards of 80 cigarettes a day. Mayer would even periodically send spies to check that Garland was adhering to her “special diet” and if found to be cheating, she would be immediately sent to a doctor to receive diet pills.
Also, Toto the dog was played by a ridiculously talented Cairn Terrier named Terry. Terry—actually a female dog—ended up appearing in 15 films over the course of her canine career. For “The Wizard of Oz” she was paid $125 a week—more than a third of what Judy Garland was making(!)—and far more than Munchkins were being paid, which was $50 per week.
Rumor has it that the studio was so desperate to have Terry play Toto that they would have gone as high as paying her $500 a week, which is the equivalent to $8,500 per week today. Woof!