Jerry Maren, last living munchkin from ‘Wizard of Oz,’ dies at 98

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jerry Maren, Last Living Munchkin From Wizard Of Oz, Dies At 98

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from "The Wizard of Oz," has died at age 98, TMZ reported.

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Maren's niece, Stacy Michelle Barrington, confirmed his death to Fox News on Wednesday.

Barrington said Maren died over a month ago, but the family decided to hold of sharing the news in the media.

"I wish I had grown up with him and had spent more time and being around him growing up," Barrington told Fox News. "I'm grateful to have had such important people in my family. Uncle Jerry would want the legacy of the 'Wizard of Oz' to continue."

Maren is best-known as the Munchkin who welcomed Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland) to Munchkinland in the classic 1939 film, as part of the Lollipop Guild in the classic 1939 film.

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Maren died at a nursing care facility in San Diego, California, TMZ reported.

The actor was laid to rest at Forest Lawn in Hollywood, the outlet said.

In an interview with the New York Post in 2009, Maren said he had just graduated high school and was appearing in a vaudeville act when he was approached by a casting agent for The Wizard of Oz.

He told the New York Post he had never seen a fellow little person before that point in his life.

"There were 124 of us, young boys, young girls, old guys and old women," said Maren. "We were all paid $50 a week because we didn't have agents. They thought we were stupid, but we knew we were getting the shaft. Toto was getting $150 a week."

Maren said he loved the movie, which he worked on for “about two weeks.”

"Whenever they needed a Munchkin extra in another scene, I was in there," Maren said. "I loved Judy Garland. She was an angel to work with."

Maren continued to work as an actor into the early 2000s and made a special guest appearance in a 1997 episode of "Seinfeld," Us Magazine reports.

Maren’s wife, Elizabeth, died in 2011 at age 69.

Happy Aniversary my life long love. Rip

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