On Could 24, actor Jerry Maren handed away at age 98 in San Diego, Calif., and — as was extensively reported — the world misplaced its final dwelling “Wizard of Oz” munchkin.
Betty Ann BrunoCraig ScheinerWell, its final munchkin performed by a dwarf actor.
“I mentioned, ‘Wait a minute, I’m a munchkin and I’m nonetheless alive!’ ” Betty Ann Bruno instructed The Publish of listening to about Maren. As kids in 1939, Bruno and Joan Kenmore, each now 86, had been two of a dozen little women forged as extras to spherical out the film’s Lollipop Guild.
Kenmore seconded Bruno’s cry to not be forgotten.
“I’m nonetheless right here, and I can nonetheless breathe and I can nonetheless stroll,” she instructed TMZ.
The 12 women, who should not listed within the movie’s credit, sang and danced with the “actual” munchkins (all dwarf actors), however got brief shrift.
“We had been all the time within the background. They didn’t need to see kids’s faces however they wished our little our bodies,” mentioned Bruno, who’s now 5-foot-2 and lives in Sonoma, Calif., the place she teaches hula dancing.
Nonetheless, the three-week gig was a dream for the then-7-year-old. She grew up in Hollywood throughout the road from the 20th Century Fox studio lot and had beforehand made her big-screen debut as an additional in 1937’s “The Hurricane,” starring Dorothy Lamour. However nothing beat the “Wizard.”
“After we walked onto the set, I had the identical response that Dorothy has within the film,” Bruno recalled. On the time, “It was the Melancholy. There was no Disneyland then, so to stroll out onto the set and see these vibrant colours was like being transported to heaven.”
The youngsters had been segregated from the 120 or so grownup munchkins and supervised by their mother and father. However that didn’t cease one of many grown-up munchkins from taking a shine to her.
“One requested my mom to take me to lunch, however she wasn’t having any of it,” Bruno recalled.
She additionally remembers knocking on the door of star Judy Garland’s trailer day by day, asking for a signed photograph. Every time, Garland would inform Bruno that she was out of photographs however to return the subsequent day. Ultimately, she needed to accept an autograph and no image.
Bruno’s Hollywood profession ended quickly after when her household fled Los Angeles for the countryside.
In 1996, Bruno and the remainder of child munchkins lastly bought a bit of affection because of Stephen Cox’s behind-the-scenes guide “The Munchkins of Oz.”
Now, in spite of everything these years, Bruno says she nonetheless receives about two fan letters every week.
“It was a beautiful a part of my childhood,” she mentioned. “I’ll all the time really feel extraordinarily blessed to have had only a tiny position.”