Ruth Duccini: Actress who became the second-last survivor of the 124 Munchkins in the 1939 classic 'The Wizard of Oz'
Ruth Duccini was the last of the original female Munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. Uncredited, Duccini, who was four feet tall, played one of 124 Munchkin townspeople in the 1939 classic. There is now only one surviving Munchkin, Jerry Maren.
Duccini recalled how isolated she felt during her childhood in Minnesota. "I didn't know there were other small people," she said. At the age of 20 she travelled to California with a troupe of little people and was cast by MGM in The Wizard of Oz. "It was long hours and heavy costumes," she said. "We didn't have much time for ourselves."
During the Second World War she worked at Douglas in Santa Monica as a riveter, making use of her short stature to squeeze into hard-to-reach parts of the aeroplanes. "The one thing that I'm most proud of, I worked on airplanes in a defence plant. I was a Rosie the Riveter. I'm really proud of that," she said.
Although she appeared at Wizard of Oz events over the years, most of her life was spent outside the film business; one of her few other appearances was in the 1981 Chevy Chase spoof Under the Rainbow. She complained that the Munchkins received no royalties from the sale of toys and memorabilia. "Ted Turner's [who owned the film rights] got enough," she said.
When Margaret Thatcher died, those who had hated the former Prime Minister tried to propel "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" into the charts. Duccini and Maren both opposed the campaign, describing it as "terrible".The actress met her husband, Fred, while working for MGM, and the couple had a son and daughter. They all survive her.
Ruth Duccini, actress: born Minnesota 23 July 1918; married Fred Robinson (one son, one daughter); died 16 January 2014.
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...