As the critical of the munchkins die we look at the myths that have grown up around the top Wizard the Oz characters.

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THIS WEEK lugged the news that Jerry Maren had actually passed far at age 98. Maren is commonly reported to it is in the last of more than 100 little people actors that played the function of munchkins in among the most famed films of all time, The magician of Oz.

Allegations the outrageous plot by the munchkin actors throughout the manufacturing of the standard movie is the ingredient of Hollywood legend. Wild story of rampant drunkenness and raging orgies emerged nearly as quickly as the movie hit the large screen in 1939.

The rumours show up to have started with a comment indigenous producer Mervyn LeRoy quickly after the film wrapped. “They had sex orgies in the hotel, and also we had to have police top top just about every floor,” the said.

Jerry Maren Source: Dane Andrew

A biography of the actor who played the Cowardly Lion, Bert Lahr, added some ballast to the stories through the claim that many of the munchkins made their living by “panhandling, pimping and whoring”:

Assistants were ordered to watch the crew of midgets, that brandished knives and also often conceived passions for other, bigger Metro personnel.

The debauchery was illustrated in the Irvine Welsh pat Babylon Heights and additionally in an, extremely poorly rated, 1981 comedy called Under the Rainbow.

‘They believed they could get away v anything’

Judy Garland, who, that course, played the duty of Dorothy Gale, recounted her suffer of functioning on The wizard of Oz in a 1967 interview with Jack Paar.

“They to be drunks,” Garland told the legend talk present host.

One the them, who was about 40, a gentleman, asked me for dinner and I can not say ‘I can’t, because you’re a midget’. I just said, ‘No, my mother wouldn’t prefer it’, ‘Ah come on, bring your ma too.’

Garland added that all the munchkins were housed in one hotel in Culver City. They invested every night gaining “smashed” and had to be caught using butterfly nets.

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A darker variation of occasions was placed forward by Garland’s ex-husband, Sid Luft, in his memoir, Judy and also I: my Life through Judy Garland, i m sorry was published after his fatality in 2005.

“They would make Judy’s life miserable on set by placing their hands under her dress,” Luft wrote.

The males were 40 or much more years old. They believed they could get away through anything because they were so small.

Paid less than the dog

However, the way the small people to be treated if they worked on the film was contentious. The munchkins’ salary, and the problems they endured, has been the cause of controversy.

None the the gibbs were noted in the films credits and Stephen Cox’s book, The Munchkins that Oz, revealed the they to be paid much less than Toto the dog.

The munchkins to be paid $50 per week if the dog, or rather her trainer, earn $125. Regardless of this apparent injustice Margaret Pellegrini, that played a munchkin villager, insisted being connected in the film to be a wonderful experience.

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“My father operated in a hotel and earned about $5 a week. I got paid $50 a week,” she said. “It take it eight main to do the Munchkinland scenes, after i beg your pardon I remained in Hollywood because that a month come sightsee.”

‘Demeaning legends’

After filming sheathe up many of the munchkins left the movie business, returning to the spotlight only occasionally at the behest that the studio.

Maren, that played the green lollipop guild member, however, carved out a career as a performer. He appeared in much more than 60 films and television collection and also worked together a stunt dual for kid actors such as Jodie Foster and also Ron Howard.

The wizard of Oz cast members consisting of Margaret Pellegrini (left) and also Jerry Maren (centre). Source: mark J. Terrill

The actor, who started the Little human being of America advocacy group, took problem with the “demeaning legends” that came to be attached come the munchkins.

In his 2006 memoir, Short and Sweet: The Life and also Times that the Lillipop Munchkin, the laid the blame at the feet the Judy Garland, saying much of the myths sprang up complying with her interview through Paar:

Judy was informing it follow to she pills and also booze that day. She left behind a tradition of untruths around us.

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Maren claimed two certain actors to be responsible because that the inappropriate behaviour. “There to be a pair of youngsters from Germany who preferred to drink beer. They drank beer morning, noon and also night, and got in a little trouble. They wanted to fulfill the girls, however they to be the just ones.”

Whatever the fact of the tales the munchkins do an indelible note on the legendary film, which IMDb rates as the third most watched movie of every time. Their donation to cinema was ultimately recognised in 2007 when they were offered a star top top the Hollywood to walk of Fame.