Meinhardt Raabe, oldest living Munchkin from 'The Wizard of Oz,' dies at age 94

Meinhardt-RaabeImage Credit: E. Charbonneau/WireImage.comMeinhardt Raabe, 94, considered to be the oldest living actor who played a Munchkin in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, died Friday in Orange Park, Fla., according to The New York Times. Raabe was 23 years old when he appeared in The Wizard of Oz as Munchkinland’s coroner. During his brief speaking role, Raabe proclaimed the death of the Wicked Witch of the East by singing: “As coroner, I must aver/I thoroughly examined her/And she’s not only merely dead/She’s really, most sincerely dead!”

Raabe was born in Watertown, Wis., in 1915. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1937, Raabe joined Oscar Mayer as a salesman, becoming known as the meat company’s Little Oscar, “The World’s Smallest Chef.” Raabe spent almost 30 years with Oscar Mayer, but in 1938, he took a leave of absence to head to Hollywood and audition for The Wizard of Oz. Since the movie’s release, Raabe regularly made appearances at conventions and events celebrating the movie. In 2005, Raabe published an autobiography, Memories of a Munchkin: An Illustrated Walk Down the Yellow Brick Road, and in 2007, he joined six other surviving Munchkin actors to receive a Hollywood Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Raabe also served stateside as a pilot in the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. He is survived by a sister, Marion Ziegelmann. His wife, Marie Hartline, died in 1997.

After the jump is a clip of Raabe’s appearance in The Wizard of Oz:


Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Awwww I remember that munchkin.

    On another EW, please get rid of these Spammers!!!

    • sensai

      My condolences go out to the friends and family of…….oh wait there’s probably no one left. Never mind.

      • Gina

        sensai and all other trolls . . . being a jerk under the cover of the internet does not impress anyone. My condolences to Mr. Raabe’s family and friends.

      • yo mooma

        dude your comment is screwed up sensai

  • Lisa Simpson

    I spent a weekend with Reinhard about a decade ago. He had some interesting memories. (And yes, EW, plese do something about the spammers, especially on the items dealing with death.)

  • Teeps

    please, Please, PLEASE!!!!

    Hollywood, please don’t let Burton remake Wizard of Oz! PLEAAAAASEEEEE!!!!

    • jon

      HA…..With Johnny Depp as, you guessed it, the wonderfully weirdly wacky Wizard!!!!!

      • willyt

        Nah, depp would be the scarecrow, helena beckham carter as the wicked witch, sum british blonde as dorothy, and a f***ed up spin-off of scooby-doo as Toto

  • cindy

    I remember him as “Little Oscar”, since I grew up in Wisconsin. My late cousin Ralph Welbes knew him. They were both “little people” as we were told to refer to them back in the 50’s and 60’s. Mr. Rabbe was very short man, where as my cousin was referred to as a “dwarf” meaning he was not in proportion. This contributed to his early death. His organs were almost full sized in a very tiny body of 3 feet and a few inches.
    Great memories…Long live the Munchkins!

  • Lisa

    One of my favorite munchkins. RIP

  • sharon

    I’m from Watertown, WI. I actually hear that he attended my church for some time. RIP Meinhardt.

  • Colleen Townsend

    Meinhardt was my third cousin, something I did not find out until I was 32! My grandfather, Carroll Raabe, used to drive around with him in the Weiner Mobile. My aunts Jane and Lucille Raabe used to play with him on their farm in Juneau Wisconsin.
    When I found out that he was related to me it was like a dream come true, since the Wizard of Oz had ALWAYS been my favorite movie! My Aunt Jane had his number in Florida, or actually she knew where he lived and I found his phone number on the internet! I talked to him that evening, and everyone in the house was so excited!
    When I spoke to him, his wife had just died, and we ended up talking about Grandpa and my aunts. He knew mygrandmother as well as they were all from Juneau. He was a very polite and gracious man, and talked much about when he was on the Wizard of Oz. I only spoke to him that one time, but when Grandpa passed away last Saturday I was going to call him while on vacation. Well,I am on vacation and this is what I woke up to.
    Losing both of them within the space of one week is very hard. I am very proud, not that he was on the Wizard of Oz, but because he was a good man. He was family

    • G Byrd

      To the Family and Friends of Meinhardt Raabe:

      I support you in your time of grief over the loss of your loved one.

      As a member of the admiring public and former Civil Air Patrol member, I too was touched by him and will always happily remember Mr.Raabe.

  • bestbuysforlessonline

    I can remember every fall waiting for the night of (The Wizard Of Oz)Now I think back and, remember my kids being so excited to watch it.That movie is one of the best for a family movie.Wish they still made GOOD family movies like that!! Kids really need them. Cindy

  • Katja

    Thank you, Mr. Raabe, for contributing so well to such a wonderful movie!

  • Anthony

    I love Oz…I seriosuly can recite the entire movie by heart. This breaks my heart. I met Jerry Maren (Lollipo Kid) a few years back. What a loss.

  • mesuda

    How many munchkins still alive?

    That hat was pretty awesome Mr. Raabe. RIP

    • willyt

      sadly, he was the last actor of the entire movie to be alive. R.I.P.

      • yea

        no theres still 3 alive

  • Michael

    I see on the Internet his sister is alive and living in Watertown Wi. My condolences to her. I remember in my youth seeing him in the Oscar meyer “weinermobile” in Eau Claire Wi. So many passing on. I’m happy he lived a long full life.

  • Bonnie

    WHat a wonderful movie they all made together. They showed us all how important we are to each other. He will live on in our hearts forever. God bless him for living a full and wonderful life.

  • Silk Spectre

    We can only hope he is ina place as wonderful as Munchkin land. RIP

  • JOE

    I knew Mr. Rabbe growing up he was a wonderfull person most people don’t know his wife marie was alson in the movie oz lolliepop girls he was also invelved in the little people of america to me growing up in delaware county pennsylvania he showed me that just because your a little short you always stand tall with honor i havent seen him in a few years but i hope he is with marie with his big smile on his face RIP MR RAABE

    • Colleen Townsend

      You knew Meinhardt? Then you must also have known my grandfather, Carroll Raabe, and my aunts Janeand Lucille Raabe. Their father was a shoe repairman, and they lived in Juneau WI. My great grandmother’s name was Flora Raabe.

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