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Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton

Even so, the secret of The Wizard of Oz's enduring popularity wasn't the effect it had on moviegoers as much as it was the impact it had on television audiences following its network television premiere in 1956. A resounding success, the film was not re-broadcast again until 1959, when its airing at an earlier time slot than before made it an tradition in countless American households over the course of the next three decades. Meanwhile, Hamilton worked steadily in film throughout the 1940s, but turned almost exclusively to television work throughout the 1950s. The 1960s found her striking a happy balance between the two mediums, and in 1976 Hamilton -- then appearing in Maxwell House coffee commercials -- ruffled feathers with a guest appearance on Sesame Street (PBS 1969-) was deemed too frightening for television, and never rebroadcast. A stroll into "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" fared better as Hamilton good-naturedly donned her classic witch costume while lamenting the fact that the character frightened so many children. On May 16, 1985, Margaret Hamilton died from a heart attack in Salisbury, Connecticut. She was 82.
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