Jerry Maren, Last Surviving Munchkin in ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Dies at 98

Maren was 18 when he welcomed Judy Garland’s Dorothy to Oz

jerry maren wizard of oz munchkin
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Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” has died at age 98.

According to TMZ, Maren died last week at a San Diego nursing care center; a funeral was held over the weekend at Forest Lawn in Hollywood.

Maren was an 18-year-old when he was cast in the movie as a bouquet-wielding member of the Lollipop Guild that welcomed Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale to Oz. He had been performing in vaudeville in New York’s Times Square with an act called Three and a Half Steps.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Maren was the final surviving Munchkin actor from the 124 little people who starred in the 1939 musical.

“We were all paid $50 a week because we didn’t have agents,” he told the New York Post in a 2009 interview. “They thought we were stupid, but we knew we were getting the shaft. Toto was getting $150 a week.”

The actor had — forgive the pun — small roles on various TV shows over the years, including “The Twilight Zone,” “Seinfeld” and “Bewitched.”

He also starred opposite Groucho Marx and The Marx Brothers in “At the Circus” in 1939 and played a monkey in 1973’s “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”

According to IMDb, his last role was playing a mime in the 2010 horror comedy “Dahmer vs. Gacy.”