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For other uses, see Munchkin (disambiguation).
The Munchkins
Oz books character
W. W. Denslow's depiction of Munchkins, from the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
First appearance The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Created by L. Frank Baum

The Munchkins are the natives of the fictional Munchkin Country in the Oz books by American author L. Frank Baum. They first appear in the classic children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). They are described as only wearing shades of blue clothing, as blue is the Munchkins' favorite color, and the predominating color that officially represents the eastern quadrant in the Land of Oz. They and the non-Munchkin Witch, the Good Witch of the North who accompanies them upon Dorothy Gale's first arrival to Oz, are described as being the same height as Dorothy, who is hinted to be no older than twelve-years-old.


The following is an excerpt from chapter two of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, titled The Council with the Munchkins, in which Dorothy first meets three Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North:

she noticed coming down toward her a group of the queerest people she had ever seen. They were not as big as the grown folk she had always been used to; but neither were they very small. In fact, they seemed about as tall as Dorothy, who was a well-grown child for her age, although they were, so far as looks go, many years older.

Baum apparently did not mean that only Munchkins are short in stature (as depicted in the iconic 1939 film), but that this is the norm for all of the adult humans of Oz. In a scene later in the book, the Guardian of the Gates, the first inhabitant of the Emerald City met by Dorothy and apparently representative of its citizens, is "a little man about the same size as the Munchkins." Still later, the Quadlings of the southern land are described as "short and fat." The Tin Woodman is also of Munchkin descent but is of average adult height.

In W. W. Denslow's illustrations for The Wonderful Wizard (approved by Baum), the only Oz humans depicted as remarkably taller than Dorothy are the Soldier with the Green Whiskers and Glinda.

Baum rarely refers to Ozites as small of stature in the Oz books that follow. (One notable exception is the Munchkin wrestler that Zeb challenges in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz).

Origin of the term[edit]

Baum never explained where the term came from, but Baum researcher Brian Attebery has hypothesized that there might be a connection to the Münchner Kindl, the emblem of the Bavarian city of Munich (spelled München in German). The symbol was originally a 13th-century statue of a monk, looking down from the town hall in Munich. Over the years, the image was reproduced many times, for instance as a figure on beer steins, and eventually evolved into a child wearing a pointed hood. Baum's family had German origins, suggesting that Baum could have seen one such reproduction in his childhood.

It is also possible that "Munchkin" came from the German word "Männchen", which means "mannikin" or "little figure". In 1900, Baum published a book about window displays in which he stressed the importance of mannequins in attracting customers.[1]

It is also possible that the term came from the Romanian word for laborer, "muncitor", replacing the Romanian suffix of agency, "-itor", with the English suffix of (kind, sort, and) class identification, "-kin". "Munci" is the Romanian verb "to labor" and is pronounced /MOOHN-chee/.

Known Munchkins[edit]

The following is a list of Munchkins named in the Oz books:

  • Kiki Aru
  • Bini Aru
  • Boq
  • King Cheeriobed
  • Isomere
  • Jinjur
  • Ku-Klip
  • Margolotte
  • Melanie
  • Mooj
  • Mopsi Aru
  • Nick Chopper (The Tin Woodman)
  • Nimmie Amee
  • Number Nine
  • Ojo the Lucky
  • Dr. Pipt
  • Real Bad (Ree Alla Bad)
  • Sister Six
  • Tallulah Dash (the cutest munchkin)

In The Wizard of Oz (1939)[edit]

The classic 1939 musical movie The Wizard of Oz loosely based upon Baum's novel, the Munchkins are portrayed by children and adults with dwarfism. Unlike the book, their country is called Munchkinland and they all wear colorful garments and outfits instead of all blue attire.

On November 20, 2007, the Munchkins were given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Seven of the surviving Munchkins actors from the film were present. As a result of the popularity of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the word "munchkin" has entered the English language as a reference to small children, persons with dwarfism, or anything of diminutive stature.

Actors and actresses[edit]

The following is a list of actors who portrayed the Munchkins in the 1939 film. Most of the 124 dwarfs hired were acquired for MGM by Leo Singer, the proprietor of Singer's Midgets.[2][3] An additional dozen or so child actresses of average size were hired to make up for the shortage of little people that the studio found to appear in the film. These actors – including those with speaking parts – were credited on-screen collectively, as "The Munchkins."

In 1989, author Stephen Cox researched, found, and wrote about the surviving Munchkin actors fifty years after they made the film. He wrote about them in his book, The Munchkins Remember (1989, E.P. Dutton) which was later revised as The Munchkins of Oz (Cumberland House), and his book remained in print for nearly two decades. When he wrote the book, 33 of the dwarfs who acted in the film were surviving and were interviewed. Today, Jerry Maren who played the green "lollipop guild" member is the last living munchkin actor.

Note: Social security information was hard to come by prior to the mid twentieth century. As a result, things such as birth or death years may be incomplete due to lack of records.

Actor Born Died Part(s) played Source
Gladys W. Allison Unknown Unknown Played a villager [4]
John Ballas Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Franz Balluck 1913 1987 Played a villager [4]
Josefine Balluck 1908 1984 Played a villager [6][7]
John T. Bambury 1891 1960 Played a soldier [8]
Charlie Becker 1887 1968 Played "The Mayor of Munchkinland" [8][9]
Freda Betsky Unknown Unknown Played a villager [4]
Henry Boers 1896 Unknown Played a villager [10]
Theodore Boers 1894 Unknown Played a villager [10]
Christie Buresh 1907 1979 Played a villager [11]
Eddie Buresh 1909 1982 Played a villager [11]
Lida Buresh 1906 1970 Played a villager [5][11]
Mickey Carroll 1919 2009 Played a fiddler, a town crier, and a soldier [12]
Casper "Colonel" Balsam Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Nona A. Cooper 1875 1953 Played a villager [4]
Thomas J. Cottonaro 1914 2001 Played the Bearded Man [4][13]
Elizabeth Coulter Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Lewis Croft 1919 2008 Played a soldier [14]
Frank Cucksey 1919 1984 Played the villager that gives Dorothy the flowers [15][16]
Billy Curtis 1909 1988 Played the Braggart ("and ohhhh what happened then was rich") [17]
Eugene S. David, Jr. Unknown Unknown Played a fiddler [18]
Eulie H. David Unknown Unknown Played a soldier [18]
Ethel W. Denis Unknown 1968 Played a villager [5][19]
Prince Denis 1892 1984 Played the Sergeant-at-Arms [19][20]
Hazel I. Derthick 1906 1989 Played a villager [21]
Daisy Earles 1907 1980 Played a "munchkin maiden" [22]
Gracie Earles 1899 1970 Played a "munchkin maiden" [22]
Harry Earles 1902 1985 Blue member of "The Lollipop Guild [22][23]
Tiny Earles 1914 2004 Played a "munchkin maiden" [22]
Major Doyle 1893 1940 Played a villager
Ruth Robinson Duccini 1918 2014 Played a villager [24]
Carl M. Erickson 1917 1958 Played the 2nd Trumpeter, and a Sleepyhead
Fern Formica 1925 1995 Played a villager and a "sleepyhead" [25]
Addie Eva Frank Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Thaisa L. Gardner 1909 1968 Played a villager
Jakob "Jackie" Gerlich 1917 1960 Red member of "The Lollipop Guild [26]
William A. Giblin 1916 1985 Played a soldier [27]
Jack S. Glicken 1900 1950 Played a city father [28][29]
Carolyn E. Granger 1915 1973 Played a villager
Joseph Herbst Unknown 1989 Played a soldier [5][30]
Jakob Hofbauer Unknown Unknown Played a soldier [29]
Clarence C. Howerton "Major Mite" 1913 1975 Played the 3rd Trumpeter, and a Sleepyhead [31]
Helen M. Hoy Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Marguerite A. Hoy January 26, 1906 January 22, 1991 Played a villager [5]
James R. Hulse Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Robert Kanter Unknown Unknown Played a soldier [4]
Charles E. Kelley Unknown Unknown Played a soldier [4]
Jessie E. Kelley 1907 1968 Played a villager
Frank Kikel Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Bernard "Harry" Klima 1897 1957 Played a villager [15][32]
Mitzi Koestner June 4, 1894 1975 Played a villager [5]
Emma Koestner 1900 1984 Played a villager
Willi Koestner Unknown Unknown Played a soldier [5][33]
Adam Edwin "Eddie" Kozicki 1917 1986 Played a fiddler
Joseph J. Koziel Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5][34]
Dolly F. Kramer Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Emil Kranzler 1910 1993 Played a villager [5]
Nita Krebs 1905 1991 Member of The Lullaby League and a villager [35]
"Little Jean" LaBarbera 1909 1993 Played a villager [36]
Hilda Lange Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Johnny Leal 1905 1996 Played a villager and a soldier
Ann Rice Leslie 1900 1973 Played a villager
Charles Ludwig Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Dominick Magro Unknown 1959 Played a villager [37][38]
Carlos Manzo 1914 1955 Played a villager [5]
Howard Marco Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Jerry Maren 1920 Living Green member of "The Lollipop Guild" [39]
Bela "Mike" Matina 1903 Unknown Played a villager [4][40][41]
Lajos "Leo" Matina Unknown Unknown Played a villager [4][40]
Matyus "Ike" Matina 1903 Unknown Played a villager [4][40][41]
Walter M. B. Miller 1906 1987 Played a soldier and a flying monkey
George Ministeri 1913 1986 Played the coachman and a villager
Harry Monty 1904 1999 Played a villager and a flying monkey [42]
Yvonne Bistany Moray 1917 Unknown Member of The Lullaby League and a villager [4]
Olga C. Nardone 1921 2010 One of the sleepyheads, a villager, and a member of The Lullaby League [43]
Nels P. Nelson 1918 1994 Played a villager
Margaret C.H. Nickloy 1902 1961 Played a villager [44]
Franklin O'Baugh 1901 Unknown Played a soldier [45]
William H. O'Docharty 1920 1988 The coach footman and villager
Hildred C. Olson Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Frank Packard Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Nicholas Page 1904 1978 Played a city father
Leona M. Parks 1897 Unknown Played a villager
Margaret Williams Pellegrini 1923 2013 Played a "sleepyhead" and the "flower pot munchkin" [46]
Johnny Pizo Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
"Prince Leon" Polinsky 1918 1955 Played a villager
Meinhardt Raabe 1915 2010 Played the coroner [47]
Margaret Raia 1928 2003 Played a villager [48]
Matthew Raia Unknown Unknown Played a city father [29][48]
Friedrich "Freddie" Retter 1913 Unknown Played a fiddler and villager
"Little Billy" Rhodes 1895 1967 Played the barrister [29]
Gertrude H. Rice Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Hazel Rice Unknown Unknown Played a villager
Sandor Roka 1899 1957 Played a villager
Charles F. Royal 1900 1947 Played a soldier
Helen J. Royal 1897 1958 Played a villager
Stella A. Royal 1903 1959 Played a villager
Albert Ruddinger Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Elsie R. Schultz 1892 1987 Played a villager
Charles Silvern 1902 1979 Played a villager
Garland "Earl" Slatten 1917 1995 Played a soldier [10]
Karl Slover 1918 2011 Played the lead trumpeter, a soldier, a "sleepyhead", and a villager [49][50]
Ruth E. Smith 1895 1985 Played a villager
Elmer Spangler Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5][44]
Pernell St. Aubin 1922 1987 Played a soldier [15][51]
Carl Stephan Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Alta M. Stevens 1913 1989 Played a villager
George Suchsie Unknown Unknown Played a villager [5]
Charlotte V. Sullivan 1906 1966 Played a villager
Clarence Swensen 1917 2009 Played a soldier [52]
Betty Tanner 1916 1994 Played a villager [53]
Arnold Vierling 1919 1949 Played a villager [5]
Gus Wayne 1920 1998 Played a soldier [54]
Victor Wetter 1902 1990 The Captain of the Army
Gracie B. Williams Unknown N/A Played a villager
Harvey B. Williams Unknown N/A Played a soldier
Johnny Winters Unknown Unknown Played The Commander of the Navy [4][29]
Marie Winters 1901 1979 Played a villager
Gladys V. Wolff 1911 1984 Played a villager
Murray Wood 1908 1999 Played a city father [5]

Child actresses[edit]

Four child actresses are still living that appeared in the film.[55]

Actor Born Died Part(s) played Source
Betty Ann Cain Bruno 1931 Living Child actress [55][56][57]
Ardith Dondanville Todd 1930 Living Child actress [55][56][57]
Joan Kenmore 1931 Living Child actress [55][56][57][58]
Shirley Ann Kennedy Vegors 1932 2005 Child actress [59]
Eva Lee Kuney 1934 2015 Child actress [4][60]
Rae-Nell Laskey 1930 1991 Child actress
Patsy May 1934 2013 Child actress
Elaine Mirk Unknown Unknown Child actress [58]
Priscilla Ann Montgomery Clark 1929 Living Child actress [56][57][61]
Valerie Shepard Unknown Unknown Child actress [58]
Donna Jean Johnson Stewart-Hardaway 1933 2008 Child actress
Viola White Unknown Unknown Child actress


The Munchkins (specifically the "Lollipop Guild") as depicted in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. L-R: Jackie Gerlich, Jerry Maren and Harry Doll
  • The Munchkins appeared in The Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy and Toto first arrived in the Land of Oz after her house landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, the Munchkins have been hiding until Glinda the Good Witch arrived and had the Munchkins come out of their hiding place. During the musical number, Dorothy told them how she arrived in the Land of Oz and the Munchkins celebrate. The Mayor of Munchkinland and his assistant had to make sure that the Wicked Witch of the East is dead before the celebration continued. The coroner tells the Mayor of Munchkinland that the Wicked Witch of the East is not merely dead and that she is most sincerely dead while showing the Certificate of Death. The Munchkins then celebrate further as Dorothy receives gifts from the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild. Near the end of the song, the Wicked Witch of the West arrived causing the Munchkins to hit the deck. After the Wicked Witch of the West left, Glinda had Dorothy follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City as the Munchkins guide her out of Munchkinland.
  • The Munchkins appeared in The Wiz and were played by children and teenagers.
  • In The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, the Munchkins were played by Rizzo the Rat (who portrayed the Mayor of Munchkinland) and his fellow rats.
  • The Munchkins appeared in Dorothy and the Witches of Oz. They were brought to Earth by Glinda in order to combat the forces of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • The Munchkins appear in Oz the Great and Powerful. They alongside the Quadlings and the Tinkers as inhabitants of Glinda's protectorate. Although the film is not otherwise a musical, the Munchkins sing and dance much as they do in the 1939 film.
  • The Munchkins appear in Once Upon a Time.


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