Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, passed away in a San Diego nursing home on May 24. He was 98.
Maren’s character was the member of the Lollipop Guild who famously welcomed Judy Garland’s Dorothy to Munchkinland in the 1939 film. Maren stood 4’3″ and was one of 124 actors who played Munchkins in the classic film.
According to NBC News, Maren’s acting career spanned more than 70 years, during which he played a number of roles. Some of his famous roles included The Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in McDonald’s commercials, as well as appearances as Little Oscar for Oscar Mayer hot dogs.
In a 2011 interview for the North Hollywood Patch, Maren said:
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. But then I realized, geez, it must have been a hell of a picture, because everyone remembers it everywhere I go.
Along with the aforementioned works, Maren also appeared in films and television shows like Seinfeld, The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, The Wild Wild West, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, Lou Grant, and Julia.
Fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to Maren.
Most wrote that they will never forget his performance in The Wizard of Oz:
Remembering Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin. He’s the one who handed Judy Garland the lollipop. pic.twitter.com/wrbuKuPgqx
— Annette Bochenek (@Home2Hollywood) June 6, 2018
The last munchkin has left the yellow brick road..he’s off to see the wizard R.I.P. Jerry Maren.
— Robert Sandy Beach (@BobSandyBeach) June 7, 2018
This is pretty sad. The oz comic I’ve been working on for years has an ode to Mr. Maren. RIP ——— Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, has died https://t.co/v7gh2u7YkY
— XaqInd (@negativezach) June 7, 2018
Others remembered Maren for his impressive career in the industry:
My obit on Jerry Maren, the last of the dwarfs who played Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.” He also had a major career in commercials, playing Mayor McCheese for McDonalds and driving the Weinermobile. https://t.co/lSl8YXpY6X
— Brooks Barnes (@brooksbarnesNYT) June 6, 2018
Jerry Maren was more than just a munchkin. He was also a Moleman, a Little Cigar, and a Little Oscar. He was one of the all-time giants of showbiz little people. #RIPJerryMaren pic.twitter.com/rDbTnZzsw8
— Kliph Nesteroff (@ClassicShowbiz) June 7, 2018
RIP Jerry Maren, one of the original “Lollipop Guild” kids from the Wizard of Oz. I interviewed him for @abcWNN & he regaled me with stories from his long acting career. In the 1950s he was even Buster Brown in the shoe commercials on “Andy’s Gang”. Maren passed away at age 98. pic.twitter.com/0GTnsERqmB
— Barry Mitchell (@Barrybarryfunny) June 6, 2018
And all agreed that he will never be forgotten:
— toby greynolds (@wolfguy1969) June 6, 2018
— Hey, It’s Ash (@Hey_ItsAsh) June 6, 2018
H/T: NBC News, Twitter