Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “The Wiz”

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Was Diana too Old?

Motown Productions had a TV and film division that ultimately partnered with Universal Studios to produce the movie. Like the music side, Berry Gordy, played a significant role in film’s production and initially wanted Stephanie Mills, the Broadway star to play the role of Dorothy in the film as well. But Diana wanted this role in the worst way. She told her manager/boo thang Berry Gordy that she wanted to play Dorothy. But Berry told Diana, at thirty-three, she was too old to play the role. So she went over his head to the film’s executive producer Robert Cohen from Universal Pictures. She arranged a deal with him to have him produce the film if she was cast as Dorothy.

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