Betty Ann Bruno, born in 1931, was a renowned figure whose life and career spanned the worlds of Hollywood, journalism, and community engagement. Originating from Hawaii and growing up in the heart of Hollywood, California, her journey was as colorful as it was impactful. As a child, she graced the silver screen, most notably in the iconic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” where she played one of the munchkins.
She switched gears from acting to journalism. And had a fruitful journalism career as a reporter and television host at KTVU Channel 2 in San Francisco, where she served for over two decades. After her retirement, she embraced her Hawaiian roots and contributed to her community by teaching hula dance in Sonoma, California, where she lived till her passing.
Despite her passing on July 30, 2023, Betty Ann Bruno’s legacy continues to live on.
|Betty Ann Ka’ihilani
|Date of Birth
|Date of Death
|July 30, 2023
|Place of Birth
|One of the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
|Child actress, Journalist.
Betty Ann Bruno Biography
Born on October 1, 1931, Betty Ann Bruno’s life story began in the idyllic surroundings of Hawaii. She is the daughter of a Chinese Hawaiian mother and a Dutch-Irish father. This multicultural background contributed to her rich, varied life and her ability to connect with diverse audiences throughout her career. Her family relocated to Hollywood, California, when she was a child.
Betty began making her mark at the heart of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her initial step into acting was a bit part in John Ford’s 1937 film, “The Hurricane.” Her role as one of the Munchkins in the iconic 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” left a lasting impression on movie fans.
After graduating high school, she attended Stanford University.
Betty Ann Bruno Career
Betty Ann Bruno’s career was dynamic and awe-inspiring, shaped by diverse roles and unique experiences that defined her as a person and professional. She started in Hollywood as a child actress and seamlessly transitioned into journalism.
Betty began her career in entertainment at an early age. She had a minor part in John Ford’s 1937 film “The Hurricane,” an action-filled drama. However, her most iconic role came two years later when she was 7; she joined the cast of the unforgettable movie “The Wizard of Oz” as one of the Munchkins.
Following her Hollywood beginnings, Bruno found her true calling in journalism, initially serving as a political talk show producer and host. She showed a flair for discussion and an insightful understanding of complex political issues. She then became an investigative reporter for KTVU Channel 2, a San Francisco-based station, where she dedicated over two decades of her life from the early 1970s until her retirement in 1994.
Her tenacity and commitment to uncovering the truth established her as a pillar of the KTVU team. She covered many stories throughout her distinguished career, one of the most notable being the 1991 Oakland Hills fire coverage. Despite suffering personal loss when the fire claimed her own home, she remained dedicated to providing insightful and empathetic coverage of the disaster, exemplifying true journalistic professionalism.
Bruno’s accomplishments in journalism were recognized with three Emmy Awards. She expanded her portfolio by hosting KTVU’s public affairs show in the early ’70s.
After her retirement, Bruno shifted her focus towards teaching hula dance in Sonoma, California, connecting with her Hawaiian roots.
She participated in public events related to “The Wizard of Oz,” such as the annual Oz-Stravaganza festival in Chittenango, New York. She appeared at these events, often dressed in Munchkin-inspired costumes and even teaching hula classes. She was a contestant on the venerable game show, To Tell the Truth, which episode aired in May 2022.
Betty Ann Bruno’s diverse career was brilliantly narrated in her 2020 autobiography, “The Munchkin Diary: My Personal Yellow Brick Road,” which became a bestseller.
Betty Ann Bruno Family
Betty died on July 30, 2023, leaving her husband, Craig Scheiner, a custom watchmaker, and three sons behind.