Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from The Wizard of Oz – he represented the Lollipop Guild, memorably presenting Judy Garland’s Dorothy with a large, red and white swirled lollipop just before she and Toto headed off to see the Wizard – has died. Maren was 98, according to reports.
Maren passed away last week at a San Diego nursing care facility, according to TMZ, which broke the story. The actor was buried last weekend at Forest Lawn in Hollywood.
Maren was one of more than 100 little people cast to populate the 1939 MGM film’s Munchkinland, and distinguished himself as one of the three grimacing, shuffling, tough-boy Lollipop Guild Munchkins. In one of the film’s most charming moments, he shyly handed Dorothy the giant candy to thank her for dropping a house on a witch.
Though the actor also appeared on The Twilight Zone, Bewitched and Seinfeld, among others, his Munchkin role was undoubtedly his most famous. He made many appearances over the years at conventions and Oz reunions, and stated on his Instagram page that he was the “Last living munchkin from the Wizard of Oz.”
Maren, whose Elizabeth died in 2011, reportedly suffered from dementia in recent years, and poked fun at his own longevity with Instagram posts noting, “I”m still not dead kiddos.”
Here are a few of his social media posts: