Last Surviving 'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin Dies
June 14, 2018
Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the classic movie "The Wizard of Oz" that was filmed at MGM in Culver City, had died at the age of 99.
In the film, Maren played the green-garbed member of the Lollipop Guild – which included Jakob "Jackie" Gerlich and Harry Earles -- who handed an oversized lollipop to Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) and welcomed her to Munchkin Land.
At that time, he was 18 years old and stood 3 feet six inches. Maren and the other Munchkins were reportedly paid less than $100 per week ($900 in today's money) for their work on the movie which featured 120 "little people."
During filming, Maren recalled, there a shortage of beds and so the Munchkins had to sleep sideways three to a bed.
Born Gerald Marenghi in Boston in 1919, Maren worked in the entertainment industry for more than 70 years. He appeared in scores of films and TV shows and also played the role of Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in McDonalds TV commercials.
He died in a San Diego nursing home on May 24.
Over the Halloween weekend in 1997, the Munchkins returned to Culver City for the reopening of the Culver Hotel – their first time back here in 59 years.
The historic hotel was home to many of the Munchkins in 1938 when they filmed "The Wizard of Oz" at MGM Studios, which was situated less than two blocks away.
Six of the original Munchkins attended the gala event and received a warm welcome from Culver City officials as they entered the grand lobby. The event was sponsored by Beyond the Rainbow.
The Munchkins have a collective star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.