On Might 24, actor Jerry Maren handed away at age 98 in San Diego, Calif., and — as was extensively reported — the world misplaced its final dwelling “Wizard of Oz” munchkin.
Properly, its final munchkin performed by a dwarf actor.
“I mentioned, ‘Wait a minute, I’m a munchkin and I’m nonetheless alive!’ ” Betty Ann Bruno advised The Publish of listening to about Maren. As youngsters in 1939, Bruno and Joan Kenmore, each now 86, have been two of a dozen little women forged as extras to spherical out the film’s Lollipop Guild.
Kenmore seconded Bruno’s cry to not be forgotten.
“I’m nonetheless right here, and I can nonetheless breathe and I can nonetheless stroll,” she advised TMZ.
The 12 women, who aren’t listed within the movie’s credit, sang and danced with the “actual” munchkins (all dwarf actors), however got quick shrift.
“We have been at all times within the background. They didn’t wish to see youngsters’s faces however they needed our little our bodies,” mentioned Bruno, who’s now 5-foot-2 and lives in Sonoma, Calif., the place she teaches hula dancing.
Nonetheless, the three-week gig was a dream for the then-7-year-old. She grew up in Hollywood throughout the road from the 20th Century Fox studio lot and had beforehand made her big-screen debut as an further in 1937’s “The Hurricane,” starring Dorothy Lamour. However nothing beat the “Wizard.”
“Once we walked onto the set, I had the identical response that Dorothy has within the film,” Bruno recalled. On the time, “It was the Melancholy. There was no Disneyland then, so to stroll out onto the set and see these vivid colours was like being transported to heaven.”
The youngsters have been segregated from the 120 or so grownup munchkins and supervised by their mother and father. However that didn’t cease one of many grown-up munchkins from taking a shine to her.
“One requested my mom to take me to lunch, however she wasn’t having any of it,” Bruno recalled.
She additionally remembers knocking on the door of star Judy Garland’s trailer daily, asking for a signed photograph. Every time, Garland would inform Bruno that she was out of photographs however to return the subsequent day. Ultimately, she needed to accept an autograph and no image.
Bruno’s Hollywood profession ended quickly after when her household fled Los Angeles for the countryside.
In 1996, Bruno and the remainder of child munchkins lastly acquired a bit of affection because of Stephen Cox’s behind-the-scenes e-book “The Munchkins of Oz.”
Now, in any case these years, Bruno says she nonetheless receives about two fan letters every week.
“It was a beautiful a part of my childhood,” she mentioned. “I’ll at all times really feel extraordinarily blessed to have had only a tiny function.”