Wizard of Oz Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini Dies at 89: "She Was a Great Lady"

Celebrity News Aug. 8, 2013 AT 1:30PM
Margaret Pellegrini, original Munchkin from "The Wizard of Oz" Wizard of Oz Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini died at the age of 89 on Wednesday, Aug. 7. Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com

Wizard of Oz actress Margaret Pellegrini, who played one of the original Munchkins in the 1939 classic, died on Wednesday, Aug. 7, following a stroke two days prior, a longtime pal tells The Associated Press. She was 89. 

Pellegrini passed away at a Phoenix-area hospital after suffering from a stroke at her Glendale, Az. home on Monday, according to Ted Bulthaup, who owns a Chicago theater where Pellegrini and other former Munchkins made appearances.

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"She really had a very robust personality. She was a great lady," he told The AP. "She was always on the move. You couldn't hold her down."

The actress was just 16 when she played the role of one of the "sleepy head" kids in the film, and would later make frequent appearances as a guest speaker at grade schools in the Phoenix area, often in costume.

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According to The Arizona Republic, Pellegrini would discuss moral lessons from the film when speaking with youngsters, and told them stories about her time on set.

"There are two roads in life that you can take," she told the paper in a 1996 interview, "the wrong road and the right road. And remember, there really is no place like home."

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With Pellegrini's death, there are only two surviving Munchkins from the original cast -- "Lollipop Kid" Jerry Maren, 93, who lives in Los Angeles, and Ruth Duccini, 95, who lives in Phoenix.

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