Auntie Em actress from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was a Maine ship captain’s daughter born at sea She began to pursue acting in 1900, when she was 24. She acted on stage and in early motion pictures, making her Broadway debut in 1912. During World War I, she went to France to perform volunteer work for the American Expeditionary Force and she continued to act upon her return. She moved to Hollywood in 1929, and worked steadily for the next 20 years. According to some estimates, she acted in as many as 200 films, often playing mothers or other maternal figures. She played Aunt Polly in “Tom Sawyer” in 1930 and “Huckleberry Finn” in 1931. Her most famous movie, though, was “The Wizard of Oz.” Auntie Em was a small role but an important one, and Clara Blanchard Dickey earned $750 for her work, or nearly $14,000 in today’s dollars.