Richard Thorpe (24 February 1896 – 1 May 1991) was a Hollywood film director of the Golden Age, and the second director to labor on the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz.

Thorpe directed 180 films from 1923 to 1967; he also earned credits as screenwriter and editor. He was named as Norman Taurog's replacement on the Oz film in the first week of September 1938. Thorpe "had a reputation for bringing in pictures on budget and on schedule, which must have been a real attraction as the studio watched preproduction costs mount on The Wizard of Oz."[1]

Thorpe accomplished about a week's worth of shooting between 12 and 24 October, before he too was replaced as the film's director. He was replaced by George Cukor. None of Thorpe's footage was used in the final cut of the film; all of it was re-shot.

Coincidentally, both Taurog and Thorpe would direct Elvis Presley movies two decades later; Thorpe's were Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Fun in Acapulco (1963).

Regarding the cast members of the Oz film: Thorpe would later direct Clara Blandick in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939), and Margaret Hamilton in The Sun Comes Up (1949). He directed Frank Morgan in The Crowd Roars (1938) and White Cargo (1942). And he directed Charley Grapewin in three films in the 1930s.


  1. John Fricke, Jay Scarfone, and William Stillman, The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History, Warner Books, 1989; p. 44.
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