Meinhardt Raabe, oldest living Munchkin from 'The Wizard of Oz,' dies at age 94
Image Credit: E. Charbonneau/WireImage.comMeinhardt Raabe, 94, considered to be the oldest living actor who played a Munchkin in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, died Friday in Orange Park, Fla., according to The New York Times. Raabe was 23 years old when he appeared in The Wizard of Oz as Munchkinland’s coroner. During his brief speaking role, Raabe proclaimed the death of the Wicked Witch of the East by singing: “As coroner, I must aver/I thoroughly examined her/And she’s not only merely dead/She’s really, most sincerely dead!”
Raabe was born in Watertown, Wis., in 1915. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1937, Raabe joined Oscar Mayer as a salesman, becoming known as the meat company’s Little Oscar, “The World’s Smallest Chef.” Raabe spent almost 30 years with Oscar Mayer, but in 1938, he took a leave of absence to head to Hollywood and audition for The Wizard of Oz. Since the movie’s release, Raabe regularly made appearances at conventions and events celebrating the movie. In 2005, Raabe published an autobiography, Memories of a Munchkin: An Illustrated Walk Down the Yellow Brick Road, and in 2007, he joined six other surviving Munchkin actors to receive a Hollywood Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raabe also served stateside as a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. He is survived by a sister, Marion Ziegelmann. His wife, Marie Hartline, died in 1997.
After the jump is a clip of Raabe’s appearance in The Wizard of Oz: