The Last Munchkin from the Land of Oz Dies

Jerry Maren, 98, Dedicated Part of His Life to Advocating for “Little People”

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted June 8th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

I can’t help it. As a life-long fan of ‘The Wizard of Oz’, just want to put a little something in hear about the passing of the last actor who played one of more than 100 “munchkins in that classic 1939 movie.


His name was Jerry Maren and he played one of three members of the “Lollipop Guild” who sang a welcoming song to Dorothy (Judy Garland) as he – the one in the centre dressed in green – handed her a giant lollipop.

According to an obituary this June 6th in The New York Times; “Mr. Maren in 1957 (with a friend and fellow actor, Billy Barty) founded Little People of America, a nonprofit advocacy organization that says it has roughly 6,000 members.

“He took it as his responsibility to show, through a strong sense of self and speaking out and personal example, that little people are just people,” Mr. Cox said. “All of the other Munchkins had a great deal of respect for Jerry.” (About 10 young girls without dwarfism were hired to fill out the Munchkin ensemble; according to Mr. Cox, a handful survive.)”

Munchkin Jerry Maren greeting Dorothy (Judy Garland) with a giant lollipop in the 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz

I had no idea there was anyone still (not even Dorothy’s dog, Toto) from a film that will, after all, be celebrating its 80th anniversary in two years.

The Wizard of Oz is a movie I have never stopped loving – I think it is just as fulfilling an experience for adults as it is for kids – and I have often used lines from it in my news columns

One of my favourites is from the Scarecrow character, having confessed to Dorothy that he doesn’t have a brain, goes on to say; “Some people without brains to an awful lot of talking.”

It is a line that often comes to mind when I am listening to some of the worst of the worst on Niagara’s regional council.

Click on the screen below to watch a brief clip from Oz, showing munchkin Jerry Maren handing Judy Garland’s Dorothy a great big lollipop –

To read the entire New Yorki Times obituary on Jerry Maren, click onhttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/arts/jerry-maren-dead-wizard-of-oz-munchkin.html .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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