Entertainment & Arts

Munchkin actress Ruth Duccini dies at 95

Ruth Robinson Duccini Image copyright AP

Ruth Duccini, the last of the original female Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz, has died aged 95.

The actress died of natural causes at a hospice in Las Vegas, according to her son.

At four feet (1.22m) tall, Duccini played one of 124 Munchkin townspeople who starred opposite Judy Garland in the 1939 film.

Her death leaves only one surviving Munchkin actor - Jerry Maren, who is 93.

Born in Rush City, Minnesota, on 23 July 1918, Duccini said she felt isolated growing up.

"I didn't know there were other small people," she told Newsweek in a 2009 interview.

When she was 20 she travelled to California with a troupe of little people, where she was cast in the MGM fantasy movie.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Duccini (third from right) returned to Hollywood in 2007 when the Munchkins received a Walk of Fame star

The actress met her husband, Fred, while working for the film studio, and the two had a son and daughter.

During World War Two she worked at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica as a riveter, using her short stature to squeeze into hard-to-reach parts of planes.

"I'm very proud of my work during the war - maybe more proud of that than being in the movie," she told The Munchkins of Oz author Stephen Cox.

Although she appeared at several Wizard of Oz events over the years, most of Duccini's life was spent outside of the film business - although she appeared in the 1981 Chevy Chase spoof film Under the Rainbow.

She returned to Hollywood in 2007 when the Munchkins received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She is survived by her children Fred and Margaret.

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