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Betty Danko

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Betty Danko (19 September 1903 – 3 February 1979) was Margaret Hamilton's stand-in for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz. Danko earned $11 per day as a stand-in, which rose to $35 per day for stunt work.

Danko suffered an on-set accident on 11 February 1939: she was severely injured during the filming of the "Surrender Dorothy" sequence. After her own earlier accident, Hamilton had refused to play in any scene involving fire. Danko sat on a smoking pipe configured to look like the Witch's broomstick. On the third take of the scene, the pipe exploded. Danko spent eleven days in the hospital.[1] Her legs were permanently scarred.

Danko made $790 for her work on the Oz film, plus the $35 she earned for riding the broomstick. She continued to do stunt work in other films.[2]


  1. Kenneth Von Gunden, Flights of Fancy: The Great Fantasy Films, Jefferson, NC, McFarland, 1989; p. 222.
  2. Aljean Harmetz, The Making of the Wizard of Oz, Delta edition, 1989; pp. 277-9.

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