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As hole digger I must aver, the Phoenix coroner examined her. And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead.

Margaret Pellegrini, the hip-switching Munchkin City looker with the flowerpot headdress -- and until today one of only three remaining little people who thrilled generations of moviegoers in The Wizard of Oz -- has died at the age of 89. (That's the equivalent of 147 in big people years.)

Will Ruth Robinson Duccini or Jerry Maren be next?

Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Margaret Williams Pellegrini had her big showbiz break while working a potato chip booth at the Tennessee County Fair. Members of Henry Kramer's Midgets were perusing the fairgrounds when they spotted Ms. Pellegrini and invited her to join their troupe.

"At that time," the 3 ft. 4 inch Pellegrini later remarked, "I didn't think I was a midget."


After the release of Oz, she married Willie Pellegrini, an average-size ex-boxer. The couple had two children.

My meeting with Ms. Pellegrini and other hostile Munchkinites at the 2006 San Diego County Fair has been thoroughly documented. Everlasting image? Two elderly Munchkins lunching on hot dogs. I've said it before and I'll say it again: when cradled in the shriveled, undersize mitts of an 80-something Munchkin, an Oscar Mayer Smokie Link looks bigger than the Wienermobile with the doors open.

According to IMDB, Margaret Pellegrini appeared in only one other film: an unbilled bit part in Johnny Got His Gun (1971). While addressing the crowd at the Fair, Ms. Pellegrini bemoaned a lack of residual checks and groused about a dog that took home more green than the midgets.

A 30 second walk-on in one movie catapulted her to the status of cinematic royalty. Long after Toto went to his reward, Ms. Pellegrini was still feisty as she regaled crowds around the world with stories of her time spent working on MGM Production #1060. It must have been a great ride. Rest in peace, oh mighty Munchkin Villager.

On a similar note of childhood nostalgia, Cosmo Allegretti, the puppeteer and actor behind Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, and Dancing Bear, passed away at age 86.

I always did like dancing bare.

Related: Dig A Divot: Munchkin Karl Slover is Really Most Sincerely Dead

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