Jerry Maren is alive and well. Following false reports that the last surviving member of the Lollipop Guild from the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz had died of pancreatic cancer, reports have since surfaced indicating that Maren is indeed alive. The actor who played one of the famous Munchkins, the one who welcomed Judy Garland’s character Dorothy Gale to the land of Oz, is still breathing and contradictory to prior reports, he doesn’t even have cancer.
TMZ reported that a close friend of Maren’s, Steve Cox, dispelled the rumours and clarified that his 96-year-old friend was still alive. Cox had spoken to Maren after the death reports were released and told TMZ that Maren is with family in Southern California, where he is well cared for. Cox was also the one to dispel the rumours about Maren having pancreatic cancer.
The rumors may have started due to the fact that the public hasn’t caught a glimpse of Maren in some time – since he doesn’t do appearances (he used to travel around America appearing at Oz festivals and signings), but the exact cause and origin of the rumors remain unclear at this time.
According to the Examiner, Maren is not the first celebrity to have been falsely reported dead. In the past, reports have claimed that Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Britney Spears and Jon Bon Jovi had died, when they were in fact very much alive. In each case, the rumors and death hoaxes were apparently started by pranksters via social media.
Maren is now the last surviving member of the Munchkin cast, since Munchkin Ruth Duccini died back in early 2014.
According to IMDB, Maren is under four feet tall, as he measures three feet and four inches tall. He trained as a dancer from an early age and went by bus from New York to California, where he was chosen to star as a Munchkin. Maren once appeared in an episode of Seinfeld (“The Yada Yada”), and also played a mime in Dalmer Vs Gacy, a 2010 horror film.