The short answer is no. None of the original Munchkins is alive. The last surviving Munchkin, Betty Ann Bruno, sadly passed away on July 30, 2023.
The Munchkins from the beloved 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” are etched into the hearts and minds of millions. These iconic characters, brought to life by a diverse cast of 124 little people and child actors, left an indelible mark on pop culture.
Yet, as the years roll on, one question often surfaces: Are any of the original Munchkins still alive? None of them is alive. Before Bruno, Jerry Maren, who portrayed the Lollipop Guild member who famously welcomed Dorothy to Oz, was considered the last surviving male Munchkin.
Let’s look back at six of the most well-known Munchkins, reflecting on their lives and marking the exact dates of their passing.
Betty Ann Bruno
Betty Ann Bruno had a long and distinguished career that began as a child actress. Her most notable early role was as a Munchkin child in “The Wizard of Oz” at the tender age of seven. Born in 1931, Betty’s vibrant life continued to be filled with adventures that ranged from Hollywood to journalism until her recent passing on July 30, 2023.
Jerry Maren lent his vivacious energy to the role of the Lollipop Guild member who famously hands a lollipop to Dorothy. Born on January 24, 1920, Jerry’s career spanned seven decades in show business, from “The Wizard of Oz” to various television shows and films. He passed away on May 24, 208, aged 98.
Ruth Duccini played a female Munchkin townsperson in “The Wizard of Oz.” Born on July 23, 1918, Duccini, like many of her Munchkin co-stars, led a quiet life following her Oz fame. She passed away on January 16, 2014, aged 95.
Margaret Pellegrini was another memorable Munchkin townsperson, known for her role as the ‘Sleepyhead’ Munchkin. She was born on September 23, 1923, in Tuscumbia, AL. Margaret often attended Oz-themed events and conventions, sharing her love for the timeless film with fans until her passing on August 7, 2013, aged 89.
Karl Slover, born on September 21, 1918, in Prakovce, Slovakia, played multiple parts in the film, including the lead trumpeter of the Munchkin Mayor’s band. His distinctive face is one of the most memorable of the Munchkin ensemble. He passed away on November 15, 2011, aged 93.
Meinhardt Raabe portrayed one of the most distinctive Munchkins: the coroner who officially pronounces the Wicked Witch of the East dead. Born on September 2, 1915, Raabe lived to the ripe old age of 95, passing away on April 9, 2010.
Even though all of the aforementioned Munchkins have passed away, they continue to live on in the enduring legacy of “The Wizard of Oz,” remembered fondly for their contribution to one of the most beloved films of all time.
While 124 little people played the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz,” only a few received individual recognition or had acting careers after the film.