Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, has died at the age of 98.
TMZ reports that Maren died last week at a San Diego nursing care facility, where the actor had spent the past few years as he battled dementia, and was laid to rest over the weekend at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
Maren was 18 and newly arrived in Hollywood when he was cast along with over 100 other little people to portray “munchkins” in the big-screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Maren landed the role as the green-clothed member of the Lollipop Guild trio, one of the more prominent munchkin parts. (Seen below in the middle.)
Following The Wizard of Oz, Maren appeared in dozens of movie and television roles in a career that spanned nine decades, including The Twilight Zone, Where the Buffalo Roam, Get Smart and “The Yada Yada” episode of Seinfeld.
Maren became the last living munchkin following the death of Ruth Duccini in January 2014. “I’ve done so many things in show business, but people say, ‘You were in The Wizard of Oz?’ It takes people’s breath away,” Maren said in a 2011 interview. “But then I realized, ‘Geez, it must have been a hell of a picture, because everyone remembers it everywhere I go.”