The screen's immortal Wicked Witch, whose cackling laugh rings in our collective memory, Hamilton only won the plum role in The Wizard of Oz (1939) after Gale Sondergaard bowed out of the production! She enjoyed a lengthy show-business career that included Broadway, summer stock, community theater, radio, and TV in addition to her dozens of movie appearances. A small woman with sharp features, she portrayed many nosy spinsters and malicious gossips. Although she toiled in small parts as well as large ones, Hamilton never gave a bad performance. A former schoolteacher, she remained passionately interested in education and served on school boards and in children's therapy groups. In later years she was a familiar face on TV as "Cora," promoting Maxwell House coffee in a long-running series of commercials. She also provided the voice of Aunt Em in the animated Journey Back to Oz (1974).
OTHER FILMS INCLUDE: 1933: Another Language (her debut); 1934: Broadway Bill (and its 1950 remake, Riding High 1936: These Three 1937: You Only Live Once, Nothing Sacred 1938: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1940: My Little Chickadee 1943: Johnny Come Lately 1947: Mad Wednesday 1948: State of the Union 1949: The Red Pony 1951: People Will Talk 1960: 13 Ghosts 1961: Paradise Alley 1970: Brewster McCloud (in which her demise recalls The Wizard of Oz The Anderson Tapes.