May 8, 2009 / 2:10 AM / 9 years ago

One of last "Wizard of Oz" Munchkins dies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving diminutive “Munchkins” in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” died of natural causes on Thursday in Missouri at age 89, a newspaper reported.

Carroll, who stopped growing at a young age, was an entertainer early in life and befriended actress Judy Garland, leading to a role alongside her in classic “The Wizard of Oz,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

He was a violin-playing Munchkin “Town Crier” in the movie, dressed in purple with a yellow flower in his vest. There were dozens of Munchkins in all.

In 2007, Carroll and a few other surviving Munchkins attended a ceremony to dedicate a Munchkin star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Carroll’s given name was Michael Finocchiaro, the Post-Dispatch reported. He died at a caretaker’s home in Crestwood, Missouri, and he lived in the state nearly his entire life, the newspaper said.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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