It’s truly the end of an era. Jerry Maren, the last munchkin from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz has passed away at 98 years old.
According to TMZ, Jerry died over a week ago. His funeral service, which took place over the weekend, was held at Forest Lawn in Hollywood, CA. While his cause of death remains unknown, sources say that Jerry had been suffering from dementia for a long time.
Jerry’s IMDb profile cites a number of small roles in films like The Lord of the Rings (1978), That’s the Spirit (1945), and At the Circus (1939). Though, he is still best known as being the bravest member of Oz’s iconic Lollipop Guild — handing Dorothy a sweet treat (played by Judy Garland) took real gusto!
In addition, Jerry’s profile offers a brief, but inspiring biography. “He took dancing lessons when he was young and aspired to be an actor. In November 1938, standing just three foot four, he met up with the Oz-bound group of little people in New York and went by bus to California. There he was chosen to be the Munchkin."
There has been a steady outpouring of love for Jerry on social media following his passing. Wizard of Oz fans of all ages have come together to pay their respects to the late munchkin. “Safe travels over the rainbow, Jerry,” wrote one user. “The Lollipop Guild has been reunited at last,” commented another.
Even if it’s been nearly 80 years since The Wizard of Oz hit movie theaters, it’s clear that Jerry’s role in the film made an impact. After all, what little kid (and adult alike) didn’t want to be a member of the Lollipop Guild?