Wizard of Oz's oldest living munchkin Jerry Maren dead at 98 following battle with dementia
By Kayleigh Giles
June 6, 2018
The Wizard of Oz's oldest living munchkin Jerry Maren has died at the age of 98.
The late star passed away at a nursing care facility in San Diego, California, last week, following an ongoing battle with dementia.
The actor's family and friends gathered for his funeral at Forest Lawn in Hollywood over the weekend.
Despite landing a number of small parts throughout his 70 years in showbiz, Jerry's most notable role was that of the 'oldest munchkin' in 1939 fantasy phenomenon The Wizard of Oz.
Standing at 4ft 3in, Jerry was just 18-years-old when he starred as a member of The Lollipop Guild, alongside Jakob 'Jackie' Gerlich and Harry Earles, in the movie, which saw the late acting legend Judy Garland play leading lady Dorothy.
He went on to secure a number of uncredited roles, playing a gremlin in supernatural sitcom Bewitched in 1967 and an ape in 1968 cult classic Planet of the Apes.
Jerry bagged his first supporting part in 1971 TV series Lidsville and boasted another title role in 1982 comedy series No Soap, Radio, which also starred Steve Guttenberg.
Jerry also had a walk-on role in an episode of Seinfeld 'The Yada Yada' and played a mime in the 2010-released comedy horror movie Dahmer Vs. Gacy, one of his final acting roles.
The long-time actor was bestowed the honour of a handprint and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood in September 2013.
The privilege came six years after he appeared with six other Munchkin actors at the unveiling of a Hollywood Star for the Wizard of Oz Munchkins on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Away from the spotlight, Jerry was married to Elizabeth Barrington for 36 years before she tragically passed away in 2011.
His final Instagram post, shared in May 2017, was a black-and-white snap of the happy couple on their wedding day, alongside which Jerry wrote: 'Happy Aniversary my life long love. Rip.'
Jerry was also forced to use the social media site as a platform to dismiss reports he had died after he was the subject of a death hoax back in 2016.
MAREN, Jerry (Gerald E. Marenghi)
Born: 1/24/1920, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died: 5/24/2018, San Diego, California, U.S.A.
Jerry Maren’s westerns – actor:
The Terror of Tiny Town – 1938 (townsman)
The Wild Wild West (TV) – 1967 (Coco)