|Title||King of the Forest, Dandy Lion|
|Origin||Forest in Munchkin Country|
|Residence||Forest of Wild Beasts (Quadling Country)|
|Occupation||Ruler of the Forest of Wild Beasts; Ozma's chariot puller|
|Affiliation||Dorothy Gale, Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, Hungry Tiger, Land of Oz|
|First Appearance||The Wonderful Wizard of Oz|
- "For my life is simply unbearable without a bit of courage."
- ―Cowardly Lion[src]
The Cowardly Lion is a huge beast who lives in the Land of Oz.
He is nearly as big as a horse, with clear, intelligent eyes and a bushy, tawny mane. He often wears a brightly colored bow on his tail.
The Cowardly Lion can sing songs, in a "deep bass voice." (Glinda of Oz)
The Cowardly Lion was born without courage. The other animals expected him to be brave, so he bluffed and became a bit of a bully. He met Dorothy Gale, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and Toto in the forest while they were journeying to the Emerald City to see the Wizard of Oz and decided to accompany them to ask the Wizard for some courage. After several adventures, the humbug Wizard gave the Lion a large bowl of green liquid courage which he drank, making him full of courage.
While accompanying Dorothy to find Glinda, the party traveled through a dark forest in the Quadling Country which was home to hundreds of beasts. These animals were being terrorized by a spider-like monster the size of an elephant. The Cowardly Lion agreed to fight this monster, but found it asleep and snapped its thin neck. The grateful animals made him their king, and after fulfilling his duty to Dorothy, he returned to rule over them. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
After Princess Ozma ascended to the throne, the Cowardly Lion traveled back to the Emerald City with his friend the Hungry Tiger to meet their new ruler. When they learned of her plan to journey to the Land of Ev and rescue the Royal Family from the Nome King, they asked to join the party and were given the honor of pulling Ozma's chariot.
In the Land of Ev, the Cowardly Lion was reunited with Dorothy, who joined their party. On their way to the Nome Kingdom the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger bravely carried most of the party under the deadly hammer of the iron giant. The mission ended successfuly and the Ozites eventually returned to the Land of Oz. (Ozma of Oz)
The two beasts are Ozma's chief guardians, and they keep guard in her Royal Throne Room. However, because everyone loves Ozma, there has never been a disturbance and there is nothing for the guardians to do. ("The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger")
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (First appearance)
- Ozma of Oz
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- The Road to Oz
- The Emerald City of Oz
- Tik-Tok of Oz
- Little Wizard Stories of Oz
In the Magic Land stories of Alexander Volkov and his followers, the Cowardly Lion is re-named the Courageous Lion. March Laumer, an adaptor of Volkov, follows this in his own Oz novels; and in his short story "The Cowardly Lion Changes His Name," Laumer dubs the Lion "Rex the X."
Volkov's books make several mentions of the Lion's wife and children.
Brrr was the name of the Cowardly Lion in Gregory Maguire's A Lion Among Men.
In the Oz Squad, years after his adventures in Oz, the Lion accompanied Dorothy back to America along with the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow. There, the four of them formed the Oz Squad, a team of quasi-superheroes who protect America from Ozian threats.
In Emerald City Confidential, he became an evil businessman who, while maintaining a good reputation amongst the citizens of Oz, secretly was responsible for a number of crimes.
In Family of Oz (2011), by James C. Wallace II, the Cowardly Lion holds court in the great northern forests of Gillikin Country and makes a "Leap of Faith" in the climactic battle against Cobbler the Dog (a mechanical dog made by the Wogglebug as a pet for Tik-Tok), who was possesed by the Evil remnants of the Wicked Witch of the East. He also has a gate leading into the northern part of Emerald City named for him called the Lion's Gate.
Depictions on Stage and Screen
Ted Ross portrayed the role twice on stage and in the film, he won a Tony award for the role in 1975 when The Wiz was on Broadway.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
The Muppet Fozzie Bear plays the Cowardly Lion in the 2005 TV movie, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. Like Fozzie, the Lion's dream is to become a professional stand-up comedian. The Wizard gave the Lion a courage mircophone.
Raw is a member of a telepathic race of genetic hybrids called Viewers, which are enslaved by Azkadelia. He joins DG, Glitch, and Wyatt Cain in their quest to stop Azkadelia. He is sensitive and easily frightened, but also compassionate and uses his abilities to help. (Tin Man)
Dorothy and the Witches of Oz
The Cowardly Lion appears in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz played by Barry Ratcliffe. He appears on Earth in the form of Bryan Jennings.
De Musical The Wiz
The Cowardly Lion was portrayed by Jeroen Phaff.
Oz the Great and Powerful
In the 2013 film Oz the Great and Powerful, the Cowardly lion made a cameo appearance when Oz saves Finley being eaten. In this version, the Lion does not speak, but he does keep his personality. He tries to attack Finley when he is trapped in weeds. Oz saves him by performing "magic" (a puff of red smoke) in the animal's face. He becomes scared and runs away.
- The Wizard of Oz (1903): Arthur Hill
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): Bert Lahr
- The Wiz (Broadway show, 1975): Ted Ross
- The Wiz (film, 1978): Ted Ross
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Fozzie Bear
- The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (VeggieTales) (2007): Pa Grape as The Hungry Lion
- Tin Man (2007): Raoul Trujillo as Raw
- Dorothy and the Witches of Oz (2012): Barry Ratcliffe as Bryan Jennings