- For the historian and biographer, see D. R. Thorpe.
(February 24, 1896 – May 1, 1991) was an American film director
Born Rollo Smolt Thorpe
in Hutchinson, Kansas
, he began his entertainment career performing in vaudeville
and onstage. In 1921 he began in motion pictures
as an actor
and directed his first silent film
in 1923. He went on to direct more than one hundred and eighty films. The first full length motion picture he directed for MGM
was Last of the Pagans
(1935) starring Ray Mala
. After directing The Last Challenge
in 1967, he retired
from the film industry. He died in Palm Springs, California
Thorpe is also known as the original director of The Wizard of Oz
. He was fired after two weeks of shooting, because it was felt that his scenes did not have the right air of fantasy about them. Thorpe notoriously gave Judy Garland
a blonde wig and cutesy "baby-doll" makeup that made her look like a girl in her late teens rather than an innocent Kansas
farm girl of about thirteen. Both makeup and wig were discarded at the suggestion of George Cukor
, who was brought in temporarily. Stills
from Thorpe's work on the film survive today.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Thorpe has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
at 6101 Hollywood Blvd.
Partial filmography (director)