This lion is a friend of Dorothy. He sings and dances while dreaming to find some courage and to become the king of the forest. The role was played by the burlesque actor Bert Lahr. He needed some toughness to play within this outfit because the skin is thick and heavy.
The costume was made from a real lion's hide. The realization was difficult because the technicians quickly appreciated that these animals are all different, excluding the possibility to use a spare habit. Two costumes of Cowardly Lion were made, but only one was used in the filming.
The screen used costume was acquired by a specialist who adorned it with a molded head of Bert Lahr's son. It was unsold in December 2011 at auction in Beverly Hills on an estimate of $ 2M.
It is now listed by Bonhams on November 24 in New York, lot 128.
A photo of Bert Lahr in the lion's skin is shared by Wikimedia: