Jerry Maren, the actor who played a member of the Lollipop Guild in the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, has passed away at the age of 98. The actor died a little over a week ago at his San Diego nursing care facility.
Maren was one of 124 little people who made up Munchkinland. The actor played a member of the Lollipop Guild, notably handing Dorothy (Judy Garland) an oversized swirly lollipop, earning him the nickname the Lollipop Munchkin.
You can see Maren around the 30-second mark, clad in a green outfit.
Maren, who was 19-years-old at the time, raked in a cool $50 per week during filming. The 3-foot-4 actor later told the Independent, prior to The Wizard of Oz, he’d never met another little person.
“I was the only small person in my family,” he said in the 2009 interview. “Making the film was the greatest fun I ever had in my life.”
He also praised his Wizard of Oz co-star Judy Garland as “an angel.”
“She was a movie star and I’d figured she’d be a pain in the neck,” recalled Maren. “But she was glad to meet us, and we were glad to meet her.”
The film marked his onscreen acting debut, though it was certainly not his last. Following Oz, Maren made appearances in the Marx Brothers’ At the Circus (1939), Planet of the Apes (1968), and Seinfeld (the “Yada Yada” episode).
His wife of 36 years, actress Elizabeth Barrington, passed away in 2011. Maren’s funeral took place on Sunday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills.
Rest in peace, Jerry. Rest in peace.
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