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Archive for Sunday, April 11, 2010

Raabe, ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkin actor, dies

April 11, 2010

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Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munchkin coroner in “The Wizard of Oz” and proclaimed in the movie that the Wicked Witch of the East was “really most sincerely dead,” has died. He was 94.

His caregiver, Cindy Bosnyak, said Raabe — pronounced RAH’-bee — died Friday morning at a hospital in Orange Park, Fla. He was one of the few surviving Munchkins from the 1939 film.

Bosnyak said he complained of a sore throat at his retirement community before collapsing and going into cardiac arrest. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center, where he later died, she said.

“He had a headful of hair at 94 and he ... remembered everything every day,” she said. “To me he was a walking history book, very alert.”

Raabe was one of the 124 Munchkins in the film classic and one of only nine who had speaking parts. He was 22 years old and a show business veteran, earning money for college as a “midget” performer, as they were called then, when the movie was shot in 1938.

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