The Cowardly Lion is a huge beast who lives in the Land of Oz.
He is nearly as big as a horse, with clear, intelligent eyes and a bushy, tawny mane. He often wears a brightly colored bow on his tail.
The Cowardly Lion can sing songs, in a "deep bass voice." (Glinda of Oz)
The Cowardly Lion was born without courage. The other animals expected him to be brave, so he bluffed and became a bit of a bully. He met Dorothy Gale, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and Toto in the forest while they were journeying to the Emerald City to see the Wizard of Oz and decided to accompany them to ask the Wizard for some courage. After several adventures, the humbug Wizard gave the Lion a large bowl of green liquid courage which he drank, making him full of courage.
While accompanying Dorothy to find Glinda, the party traveled through a dark forest in the Quadling Country which was home to hundreds of beasts. These animals were being terrorized by a spider-like monster the size of an elephant. The Cowardly Lion agreed to fight this monster, but found it asleep and snapped its thin neck. The grateful animals made him their king, and after fulfilling his duty to Dorothy, he returned to rule over them. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
After Princess Ozma ascended to the throne, the Cowardly Lion traveled back to the Emerald City with his friend the Hungry Tiger to meet their new ruler. When they learned of her plan to journey to the Land of Ev and rescue the Royal Family from the Nome King, they asked to join the party and were given the honor of pulling Ozma's chariot.
In the Land of Ev, the Cowardly Lion was reunited with Dorothy, who joined their party. On their way to the Nome Kingdom the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger bravely carried most of the party under the deadly hammer of the iron giant. The mission ended successfuly and the Ozites eventually returned to the Land of Oz. (Ozma of Oz)
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (First appearance)
- Ozma of Oz
- Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
- Lost in Oz
- Lost in Oz: Rise of the Dark Wizard
In the Magic Land stories of Alexander Volkov and his followers, the Cowardly Lion is re-named the Courageous Lion. March Laumer, an adaptor of Volkov, follows this in his own Oz novels; and in his short story "The Cowardly Lion Changes His Name," Laumer dubs the Lion "Rex the X."
Depictions on Stage and Screen
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
- The Wizard of Oz (1939): Bert Lahr
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005): Fozzie Bear
- The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's (VeggieTales) (2007): Pa Grape as The Hungry Lion
- Tin Man (2007): Raoul Trujillo as Raw