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‘Wizard of Oz’ Actress Margaret Pellegrini Dies at 89

Margaret Pellegrini The Wizard of OzActress Margaret Pellegrini, one of many actors who played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz (1939), died from a stroke in her Glendale, AZ home on Aug. 7, 2013. She was 89 years old. Only fifteen at the time the movie was made, Pellegrini had uncredited roles as a flowerpot Munchkin and one of the sleepyhead kids.

Born on Sept. 23, 1923 in Tuscumbia, AL, she was discovered at the Tennessee State Fair and was asked to join Henry Kramer’s Midgets show. The vaudeville act was hired by MGM’s casting department and memorably used for Victor Fleming’s classic adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

It would be decades until Pellegrini appeared in another film, when she had an uncredited role in Dalton Trumbo’s cult classic anti-war movie Johnny Got His Gun (1971). But the actress did remain active throughout her life participating in Oz-related events and attended a 2007 ceremony honoring the surviving Munchkin actors with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

With Pellegrini’s death yesterday, Jerry Maren and Ruth Robinson Duccini are the last two surviving actors who played Munchkins in the movie.

Margaret Pellegrini and Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)/MGM Home Entertainment

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