The Munchkins
Oz books character
W. W. Denslow's depiction of Munchkins, from the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
First appearance "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1900)
Created by L. Frank Baumedi

The Munchkins are the natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. They first appeared in the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which they are described as being somewhat short of stature, and wear only blue. They are best-known from their depiction in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, in which they are played by adult proportional dwarfs, dressed in brightly multicolored outfits, and live in Munchkinland.

On November 20, 2007, the Munchkins were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the surviving Munchkins actors from the film were present.[1][2] As a result of the popularity of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the word "munchkin" has entered the English language as a reference to small children, dwarfs, or anything cute of diminutive stature.[3]



The following is an excerpt from chapter two of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy first meets three Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North:

"... she noticed coming down toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.

Baum apparently did not mean that only Munchkins are short in stature (as depicted in the iconic 1939 film), but that this is the norm for all of the adult humans of Oz. In a scene later in the book, the Guardian of the Gates, the first inhabitant of the Emerald City met by Dorothy and apparently representative of its citizens, is "a little man about the same size as the Munchkins." Still later, the Quadlings of the southern land are described as "short and fat."

In W. W. Denslow's illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard (approved by Baum), the only Oz humans depicted as remarkably taller than Dorothy are the Soldier with the Green Whiskers and Glinda.

Origin of the term

Baum never explained where the term came from, but Baum researcher Brian Attebery has hypothesized that there might be a connection to the emblem of the Bavarian city of Munich (spelled München in German). The symbol was originally a 13th century statue of a monk, looking down from the town hall in Munich. Over the years, the image was reproduced many times, for instance as a figure on beer steins, and eventually evolved into a child wearing a pointed hood. Baum's family had German origins: Baum could have seen one such reproduction in his childhood. Also, it is known about the existance of the so called munchkin pies. A "munchkin pie" is any type of fruit pie, that is created by a so called "munchkin" person. It dates back to the 19th century.

It is also conceivable that "Munchkin" is derived from the German word for "mannikin" or "little figure": "Männchen", with "-chen" being the diminutive suffix for "Mann" (man). Southern German dialects use different diminutive suffixes and a "Männchen" is called "Manderl" or "Manschgerl", the latter of which is phonetically very close to munchkin.

Fictional Munchkins

Munchkins (specifically the "Lollipop Guild") as depicted in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.


The following is a list of actors who portrayed the Munchkins in the 1939 film. 124 appeared in the film, with an additional dozen or so child actresses of average size hired to make up for the shortage of little people that the studio found to appear in the film.[4] These actors – including those with speaking parts – were credited on-screen collectively, as "The Munchkins".

In 1989, author Stephen Cox researched, found, and wrote about the surviving Munchkin actors fifty years after they made the film. He wrote about them in his book, "The Munchkins Remember" (1989, E.P. Dutton) which was later revised as "The Munchkins of Oz" (Cumberland House), and his book remained in print for nearly two decades. When he wrote the book, 33 little people who acted in the film were surviving and were interviewed.

Deceased (121)

Actor Born Died Notes Source
Gladys W. Allison
John Ballas
Franz Balluck September 8, 1913 January 24, 1987 [5]
Josefine Balluck September 9, 1908 1984 [6]
John T. Bambury July 10, 1891 November 4, 1960
Charlie Becker November 24, 1887 December 28, 1968 played "The Mayor"
Freda Betsky
Henry Boers 1896 1962
Theodore Boers 1894
Christie Buresh April 21, 1904 October 1979
Eddie Buresh March 16, 1909 January 1982 [7]
Lida Buresh June 16, 1906 September 1970 [8]
Mickey Carroll July 8, 1919 May 7, 2009 played a fiddler, a town crier, and a soldier [9][10]
Colonel Casper
Nona A. Cooper 1875 1953 [11]
Tommy Cottonaro March 20, 1914 February 7, 2001
Elizabeth Coulter
Lewis Croft May 2, 1919 April 28, 2008 played a soldier
Frank Cucksey January 5, 1919 September 9, 1984 [12][13]
Billy Curtis June 27, 1909 November 9, 1988
Eugene S. David, Jr.
Eulie H. David
Ethel W. Denis
Prince Denis January 26, 1892 June 20, 1984 [14]
Hazel I. Derthick January 7, 1906 February 13, 1989 [15]
Daisy Doll April 29, 1907 March 15, 1980
Gracie Doll March 12, 1899 November 8, 1970
Harry Doll April 3, 1902 May 4, 1985 member of "The Lollipop Guild"
Tiny Doll July 23, 1914 September 6, 2004
Major Doyle September 5, 1893 May 22, 1968
Carl M. Erickson September 12, 1917 1958 played a herald [16]
Fern Formica January 17, 1925 January 23, 1995 played a villager and a "sleepyhead"
Addie Eva Frank
Thaisa L. Gardner September 11, 1909 November 19, 1968 [17]
Jakob "Jackie" Gerlich 1918 December 1960 [18]
William A. Giblin
Jack Glicken
Carolyn E. Granger
Joseph Herbst 1888 May 1967 played a soldier
Jakob Hofbauer January 1, 1899 September 24, 1954 [19]
Clarence C. Howerton February 9, 1913 November 18, 1975 played a herald
Helen M. Hoy
Marguerite A. Hoy January 26, 1906 November 6, 1969 [20]
James R. Hulse March 16, 1915 December 29, 1964 [21]
Robert Kanter
Eleanor Keaton July 29, 1918 October 19, 1998
Charles E. Kelley
Jessie E. Kelley
Frank Kikel
Bernard "Harry" Klima c.1897 December 9, 1957 [12][22]
Mitzi Koestner June 4, 1894 August 1975
Emma Koestner
Willi Koestner
Adam Edwin "Eddie" Kozicki
Joseph J. Koziel
Dolly F. Kramer June 24, 1904 July 9, 1995 [23]
Emil Kranzler December 1, 1910 April 7, 1993 played a villager [24]
Nita Krebs October 8, 1905 January 18, 1991 member of the "Lullaby League"
"Little Jean" LaBarbera August 4, 1909 August 17, 1993 [25]
Hilda Lange 31 August 1911 December 1975 Singer [26]
Raenell Laskey child actress
Johnny Leal February 26, 1905 November 9, 1996
Ann Rice Leslie
Charles Ludwig
Dominick Magro
Carlos Manzo 1914 1955 [27]
Howard Marco
Bela Matina
Lajos "Leo" Matina
Matjus Matina
Walter M. B. Miller
George Ministeri August 9, 1913 January 29, 1986 played the coach driver
Harry Monty April 15, 1904 December 28, 1999
Yvonne Bistany Moray January 24, 1917 member of the "Lullaby League"
Olga C. Nardone June 8, 1921 September 24, 2010 one of the sleepyheads
Nels P. Nelson November 24, 1918 May 2, 1994
Margaret C.H. Nickloy August 12, 1902 April 29, 1961 [28]
Franklin O'Baugh
William H. O'Docharty September 12, 1920 December 20, 1988
Hildred C. Olson
Frank Packard
Nicholas Page May 2, 1904 August 1978 [27]
Leona M. Parks
Johnny Pizo
"Prince Leon" Polinsky
Meinhardt Raabe September 2, 1915 April 9, 2010 played the coroner
Margaret Raia 1928 August 17, 2003 [29]
Matthew Raia
Fredreich "Freddie" Retter 1912
"Little Billy" Rhodes February 1, 1895 July 24, 1967 played the barrister [30]
Gertrude H. Rice
Hazel Rice
Sandor Roak
Jimmie Rosen 1885 June 1, 1940 [31]
Charles F. Royale
Helen J. Royale
Stella A. Royale
Albert Ruddinger
Elsie R. Schultz 1893 1987 [27]
Charles Silvern September 24, 1902 April 1, 1979
Garland "Earl" Slatten February 17, 1917 April 30, 1995 [32]
Karl Slover September 21, 1918 November 15, 2011 played lead trumpeter, a soldier, a "sleepyhead" and a villager
Ruth E. Smith February 1, 1895 September 5, 1985
Elmer Spangler
Parnell St. Aubin 1903 December 4, 1987 played a soldier
Carl Stephan
Alta M. Stevens
Donna Jean Johnson Stewart-Hardaway April 2, 1933 November 12, 2008 child actress
George Suchsie
Charlotte V. Sullivan
Clarence Swensen December 29, 1917 February 25, 2009 played a soldier
Betty Tanner February 5, 1916 November 8, 1994
Arnold Vierling May 24, 1919 June 11, 1949 played a villager [33]
Gus Wayne October 16, 1920 January 23, 1998 [34]
Victor Wetter June 11, 1902 December 8, 1990 [35]
Viola White child actress
Gracie B. Williams
Harvey B. Williams
Johnny Winters c.1905 1985
Marie Winters 1901 1979 [27]
Gladys V. Wolff 1911 1984 [27]
Murray Wood June 12, 1908 September 25, 1999 [36]

Living as of 1989 (11)

Actor Born Notes Source
Betty Ann Cain 1931 child actress [37][dead link]
Ardith Dondanville 1930 child actress [38][dead link]
Ruth Robinson Duccini July 23, 1918 played a villager
Joan Kenmore child actress [39][dead link]
Jerry Maren January 24, 1920 member of "The Lollipop Guild"
Elaine Mirk child actress
Priscilla Montgomery 1929 child actress [40][dead link]
Margaret Williams Pellegrini September 23, 1923 played a "sleepyhead"
Meinhardt Raabe September 2, 1915 – April 9, 2010 played the coroner
Valerie Shepherd child actress
Karl Slover September 21, 1918 – November 15, 2011 played a soldier, a "sleepyhead" and a villager

Living today (3)

As of November 2011 there are three known surviving munchkins from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz[41]

Actor Born Notes
Ruth Robinson Duccini July 23, 1918 played a villager
Jerry Maren January 24, 1920 member of "The Lollipop Guild"
Margaret Williams Pellegrini September 23, 1923 played a "sleepyhead"


  1. ^ (with CNN reference)
  2. ^ "Melinda and Nate actors get star on Walk of Fame". Cable News Network / Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.. 2007-11-21. Retrieved 2007-12-05. [dead link]
  3. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Info re Franz Balluck
  6. ^ Find a Grave website/Josefine Balluck
  7. ^ Info re Eddie Buresh
  8. ^ Info re Lida Buresh
  9. ^ Mickey Carroll official website
  10. ^ Notice of death of Mickey Carroll
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Prince Denis, 84, Performer Who Played Munchkin Mayor". The New York Times. June 24, 1984. Retrieved May 13, 2010. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ Find a Grave website/Carl M. Erickson
  17. ^ Info re Thaisa Gardner
  18. ^ IMDb
  19. ^ Info re Jakob Hofbauer
  20. ^ Info re Marguerite Hoy
  21. ^ Info re James R. Hulse
  22. ^ Info re Harry Klima
  23. ^ Info re Dolly Kramer
  24. ^ Find a Grave website/Emil Kranzler
  25. ^ Info re "Little Jean" LaBarbera
  26. ^ Hogoboom Family Tree,
  27. ^ a b c d e Info re Carlos Manzo
  28. ^ Find a Grave website/Margaret C.H. Nickloy
  29. ^ Find a Grave website/Margaret Raia
  30. ^ Find a Grave website/"Little Billy" Rhodes
  31. ^ Info re Jimmie Rosen
  32. ^ Info re Garland Slatten
  33. ^ Find a Grave website/Arnold Vierling
  34. ^ Find a Grave website/Gus Wayne
  35. ^ Victor Wetter info.
  36. ^ Info re Murray Wood
  37. ^ Info re Betty Ann Cain
  38. ^ Info re Ardith Dondanville
  39. ^ Info re Joan Kenmore
  40. ^ Info re Priscilla Montgomery
  41. ^

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  • munchkin — UK [ˈmʌntʃkɪn] / US noun [countable] Word forms munchkin : singular munchkin plural munchkins mainly American informal a nice friendly small child He s such a cute little munchkin! …   English dictionary

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  • munchkin — munch|kin [ mʌntʃkın ] noun count INFORMAL a nice friendly small child: He s such a cute little munchkin! …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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