For the nearly eight decades since The Wizard of Oz was released, salacious rumors have run rampant concerning the behavior of the actors and actresses who portrayed the Munchkins throughout the filming process.
Mostly, the actors…
Tales have been told about drunkenness, debauchery, dalliances with prostitutes and, most recently, accusations that some of the make Munchkins routinely groped Dorothy on set (by putting their hands under her skirt – accusations leveled by Sid Luft, the recently-deceased ex-husband of actress Judy Garland, who portrayed the story’s heroine, Dorothy Gale).
Over the years, the vast majority of those stories have been repeatedly refuted by those very same actors and actresses.
Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin, was left to defend the reputation of his peers after Luft’s posthumous memoir was published early last year (March, 2017). He dismissed the stories as being over-blown: “There were a couple of kids from Germany who liked to drink beer. They drank beer morning, noon and night, and got in a little trouble. They wanted to meet girls, but they were the only ones”.
Sadly, there will no longer be anyone with first-hand knowledge of what happened to tell tales, or dispute those tales, as we learned earlier today that Mr Maren passed away last month. [His niece made the public pronouncement today, in a statement to the Associated Press]
To my knowledge, that leaves Ambrose Schindler as the last surviving cast member from The Wizard of Oz. Mr Schindler played one of the Winkie Guards at the witch’s castle, and also served as a stunt double for actor Jack Haley (who played The Tin Man). He turned 101 years of age in April of this year…