The Wizard of Oz (also simply The Wizard) was a humbug magician who ruled the Land of Oz for a time, and later became one of its beloved citizens. The Wizard of OZ the Ruler of OZ is from Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.


The Wizard is a dried-up, little old man. His wrinkled face is cheery and his eyes twinkle with humor. Although once feared by everyone in Oz, he is actually very tender-hearted. Before coming to Oz he was a hot air balloonist and a ventriloquist, able to imitate any bird or beast.


Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs was born in Omaha, the son of a politician. He went to work as a ventriloquist for Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows, going up in a hot air balloon to draw crowds to the circus, using only his first two initials (since the rest spell "pinhead"). One day his ropes got twisted and the balloon escaped. Two days later it settled in the Land of Oz. The people, seeing that this man had descended from the clouds, greeted him as a wizard. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)

The Wizard took the throne from the rightful king, Pastoria, and hid the king's daughter Ozma with the old witch Mombi, whom he visited three times. (The Marvelous Land of Oz) He then set the people to work, building the Emerald City and the Royal Palace of Oz. He announced himself ruler of the entire Land of Oz, uniting the Munchkins, Gillikins, Quadlings, and Winkies. He lived in fear of the four witches who ruled each quadrant of Oz, so he shut himself away and depended upon his reputation as a powerful wizard to protect him. He was highly venerated by his subjects and known as "The Great Oz" or "Oz the Terrible". It was commonly thought that he was all-powerful, although all acknowledged that he was reclusive and never seen, even by the servants who waited upon him.

Believing him to be the only one capable of solving their problems, Dorothy Gale and her friends traveled to the Emerald City to ask for his help. The Wizard was very reluctant to meet them, but eventually they were each granted an audience, one at a time. The Wizard appeared to Dorothy Gale as a giant head, to the Scarecrow as a beautiful fairy, to the Tin Woodman as a terrible beast, and to the Cowardly Lion as ball of fire. The Wizard promised to grant each of their requests if they killed the Wicked Witch of the West.

When they succeeded in this task, they returned to the Emerald City to collect their rewards. There, they discovered that Oz was a humbug who had used a lot of elaborate magic tricks and props to make himself seem "great and powerful." Pressed by Dorothy's companions, the humbug Wizard gave them each what they wanted.

The Wizard, tired of being a humbug and having to hide away from his subjects, planned to grant Dorothy's request by escaping Oz with her in a hot air balloon. He appointed the Scarecrow to rule in his absence, but when the time came the Wizard and his balloon floated away, accidently leaving Dorothy behind. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

He returned to the circus, but during another ascension came down in a crack in the earth caused by an earthquake. He eventually landed in the Land of the Mangaboos where he was reunited with Dorothy Gale and met her cousin, Zeb Hugson. After demonstrating his power by producing Nine Tiny Piglets, the Wizard was challenged by Gwig, the local sorcerer, and Oz sliced the Mangaboo in half. The Mangaboos forced the companions to leave their country, so the travelers journeyed through the Valley of Voe, the Land of Naught, and a den of Dragonettes before reaching a dead end. From there, Dorothy signalled Ozma, who transported the entire party to the Emerald City. The Wizard took up residence in his old rooms behind the Throne Room, and Ozma invited the little old man to remain in Oz permanently. (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz)

When Glinda learned that the Wizard was to become a permanent resident of the Emerald City, she began to teach him magic so that he would not remain a humbug. (The Emerald City of Oz)

Book appearancesEdit


The Wizard's part in the kidnapping of Ozma in The Marvelous Land of Oz did not please the readers, and in Ozma of Oz, although the character did not appear, Baum described Ozma's abduction without including the Wizard as part of it.

In Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, When Ozma rescued the adventurers from the underground kingdoms, the Wizard recounted his story of becoming the ruler of Oz, and Ozma explained that before the witches usurped her grandfather's throne (an occurance happening long before the wizard arrived), the ruler of Oz had always been known as Oz or (if female) Ozma. Ozma decreed that, besides herself, only The Wizard and Glinda are allowed to use magic.

L. Frank Baum may have based the character of the Wizard on Harry Keller. Bald and clean-shaven, Keller was "America's leading magician when Baum's book was written" and, in the judgement of one writer, "almost certainly the inspiration" for Baum's character.

Depictions in Movies and TelevisionEdit

The 1939 movieEdit

In the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, The Wizard's character is similar to that found in the earlier books: a bumbling "humbug." He was played by actor Frank Morgan. The same actor also played several other roles in the movie; including Professor Marvel, the mysterious traveling fortune teller that Dorothy meets in Kansas, the Guard at the Emerald City, the Guard at the Gates to Oz's Castle and the Coachman. His face was also presumably used as the projected image of the Wizard.

Tin Man miniseriesEdit

In the 2007 miniseries Tin Man, the Wizard is referred to as The Mystic Man, and is a drugged-up, yet popularized, mystic to whom many go to see for answers. He is being drugged by Azkadelia so he won't be of resistance to her.


In author Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (a revisionist novel based on the inhabitants of Oz) and in the Broadway musical Wicked (based on Maguire's novel), The Wizard is a tyrannical ruler who uses deceit and trickery to hide his own shortcomings. Unlike in earlier works, The Wizard is clearly meant to be the villain of the story.

Maguire presents the Wizard as a con-man and a hustler who happened onto a world where he could literally make himself into a king overnight. Pretending to have vast powers and all-encompassing knowledge, he rules over the Emerald City, while secretly requiring people with true magic talent such as Glinda and Elphaba to cast spells for him.

During the course of Maguire's novel and the subsequent Broadway production, it is revealed that the Wizard is indeed behind some of the most horrific and disastrous events in the story, with one of his cohorts being Madame Morrible. The Wizard is revealed to be the illegitimate father of Elphaba, seducing her mother with a magical green elixir, causing Elphaba's green tone. In the musical, this fact is revealed to the character Glinda, who accosts the Wizard with this information. It is also under the Wizard's direction that the Animals of Oz — most notably the Goat teacher from Shiz University, Doctor Dillamond — are caged and placed under strict control. This cruelty causes the final split between Elphaba and the Wizard, leading to her transformation into the Wicked Witch of the West.

No more than a con man with knowledge of how to work with human emotion and beliefs, the Wizard works to maintain his own position and prestige, regardless of the pain and grief it causes to others, and is not beyond subversion or mandated murder.

In the original stage production, the Wizard was played by Cabaret star Joel Grey. Here, he is not so much villainous as misguided, carried away by the image he created for himself, he claims to have kept up his deception because it was what the people of Oz, whom he views like his children, wanted. He is more sympathetic in this version, being manipulated into villainy by Madame Morrible and becoming stricken with grief upon learning of Elphaba's supposed demise.


  • The Wizard of Oz (1939): Frank Morgan
  • Wicked (2003): Joel Grey
  • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Jeffrey Tambor
  • "The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's" (VeggieTales) (2007): Archibald Asparagus
  • Tin Man (2007): Richard Dreyfuss as the Mystic Man