Science, Tech, Math › Science The Tin Man's Toxic Metal Makeup Buddy Ebsen was hospitalized making 'The Wizard of Oz' Share Flipboard Email Print Underwood Archives / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated October 28, 2019 Ray Bolger originally was cast to play the Tin Man in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz." He traded roles with Buddy Ebsen, who had initially been cast to play the Scarecrow. Ebsen recorded all his songs, finished four weeks of rehearsal, and completed costuming before the filming of the movie. MGM tested several types of costumes and makeup to make the Tin Man appear silvery. They tried covering Ebsen with tin, silvery paper, and silver cloth-covered cardboard. Finally, they decided to go with white face paint coated with aluminum dust. Lung Failure and Hospitalization Nine days into filming, Ebsen started to experience shortness of breath and cramping that sent him to the hospital. At one point his lungs failed. He remained hospitalized for two weeks during which the film's producer hired actor Jake Haley to replace him. Haley's makeup was reformulated into a paste that was painted on. Haley missed four days of filming when the makeup caused an eye infection, but he did not suffer any permanent damage, nor did he lose his job. Still, Ebsen may have had the last laugh: He outlived both Bolger and Haley—living to the ripe old age of 95 and dying in 2003, more than half a century after "The Wizard" was released. Fun Fact Ebsen's recording of "We're Off to See the Wizard" with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion was used in the film's soundtrack. Don't Suffer the Tin Man's Fate While there are several toxic chemicals found in cosmetics, you won't get sick wearing metallic makeup today. Safe Tin Man makeup is available, or better yet, make your own with homemade white grease paint coated with metallic glitter or Mylar.