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Obituary

Elly Annie Schneider, 'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin, dies at 90

By Associated Press
Published September 11, 2004

SARASOTA - Elly Annie Schneider, an actor who played one of the Munchkin villagers in The Wizard of Oz, died here Monday. She was 90.

Schneider, who used the screen names Tiny Doll and Tiny Earles, died of heart failure, said her caregiver, Marleen Grunewald.

Born in Stolpen, Germany, as the youngest of nine children, Schneider moved to the United States in 1925 to join three siblings who were also midgets. She was 39 inches tall and weighed 46 pounds.

The four siblings - Harry, Gracie, Daisy and Tiny - were among the little people who welcomed Dorothy to Munchkinland in a 10-minute scene in The Wizard of Oz. They also appeared in Sailors, Beware, a 1927 Laurel and Hardy short, and the cult classic Freaks, in 1932, and performed with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Christiana Brothers Circus.

"She was one of the most contented people I ever knew," said Grunewald, who cared for Schneider since 1987. "She had next to nothing. But she was happy and jolly, and I never heard her complain about anything. She was a sweetheart."

As recently as two months ago, Schneider entertained friends by singing songs from The Wizard of Oz and her circus shows, despite being legally blind and frail from a heart attack and stroke.

Schneider has no surviving relatives.

Her death leaves nine of the original 124 Munchkins surviving, said Margaret Pellegrini, 80, a Munchkin who said she visited Schneider at her home earlier this year.

[Last modified September 11, 2004, 01:53:28]


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