June 04, 2020

Bert Lahr's Daughter Jane Gives Intimate Look at 'The Wizard of Oz' Star's Life

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Jane Lahr remembers her father Bert Lahr and his lasting legacy almost 53 years after he passed on. Bert was famous for his role in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Almost six decades since the world said goodbye to iconic actor Bert Lahr, his daughter, Jane, is speaking up about how his enduring legacy aligns with his most famous role as Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Late Bert Lahr posed for a portrait in a tux on January 01, 1970 | Photo: Getty Images


During an interview with Closer Weekly, Bert recounted a time her late father’s character resonated with her strongly when she and her brother visited his grave for the first time since his demise.

Bert was born Irving Lahrheim in August 1895 and dropped out of school in eighth grade because he was always failing.

Late Bert Lahr, posed for a portrait while wearing a felt cap on February 01, 1963 | Photo: Getty Images


Lahr, who is an author, recalled that although Bert’s graveyard was supposed to be in “perpetual care,” that wasn’t the case as it was scattered. However, amid the mess, she noticed that a child left a toy lion on the stone. Explaining how the sight touched her, she said:

“But that’s when I really think of Dad; the thought of that child leaving that lion. I can see a mother with a little boy, saying, ‘Oh, this is the lion in The Wizard of Oz’ and the toy is left in tribute.”

Late Bert Lahr at "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW" On March 14, 1965 | Photo: Getty Images


The 77-year-old confessed that throughout her father’s lifetime, he never watched his movies because he didn’t like them, except the 1939 film “Zaza.” 

She recalled a time towards the end of his life when “The Wizard of Oz” came to TV, and he finally gave in to watch it, only for him to describe his performance, saying “hmm, that’s okay.”

Late Actor/Comedian Bert Lahr Mugging in the Broadway Production of the play Burlesque On May 01, 1947 | Photo: Getty Images


The New Yorker recalls that Jane’s brother, John, wrote a biography about his dad titled “Notes on a Cowardly Lion.” 

In the biography, John described how his father tried to make sure his character as Cowardly Lion didn’t intertwine with their personal life while he was growing up. He recalled not seeing “one Oz image or momento” in their apartment, even while the rest of the world was into the movie.

Late American Actor Bert Lahr posed for a portrait while corporately dressed on January 01, 1955 | Photo: Getty Images

According to Britannica, Bert was born Irving Lahrheim in August 1895 and dropped out of school in eighth grade because he was always failing. 

He joined a burlesque group, and that was where he honed his acting and comedy skills. Bert passed away at the age of 72 while filming his last work, “The Night They Raided Minsky’s.”