So, this morning I was reading the paper over breakfast (yes, an actual paper; I know it’s old school, but spilling milk on an iPad seems like a bad idea) and I looked in the “Birthdays” section on A2, which I always do just to see how old people are, and there was the 93rd birthday of one Karl Slover, who’s among the last surviving actors to play Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.” Slover, born in 1918 in Germany, had five roles in the movie: first trumpeter, a sleepyhead (“Wake up, you sleepyheads! Rub your eyes, get out of bed.”), a soldier, a Munchkin who escorted Dorothy to the Yellow Brick Road, and a female villager (there weren’t enough actresses in the cast of little people). He’s stayed close to the Land of Oz, travelling annually to the Judy Garland Festival (including this past summer, where there was a special party for him) and to other Oz events from his home in Dublin, Georgia. A 2009 blog profile from his hometown describes him as “one of the warmest, funniest and kindest people you’ve ever met,” and quotes his advice to fellow seniors: “Just try to get along the best you can. Enjoy what you have. Enjoy where you live. Most of all remember what Judy Garland said, ‘There’s no place like home.'”
Sounds like a good fellow. Happy birthday, Mr. Slover. According to Wikipedia, three other Munchkin actors are still surviving: Ruth Robinson Duccini (a villager), Jerry Maren (Lollipop Guild), and Margaret Williams Pellegrini (a sleepyhead). Here they all are, along with Meinhardt Raabe ( who played the coroner; he died in 2010), interviewed for the 70th anniversary of the film in 2009. Mr. Slover is second from right, in suit and tie.
(Update: I misspelled Mr. Slover’s name in an earlier version of this post; now corrected.)