Karl Slover, Munchkin Trumpeter
By: Linnea Crowther
6 years ago
More than 70 years ago, Karl Slover turned his small stature into a plum movie role… one that he'd treasure for the rest of his life.
The 21-year-old, 4-foot-4-inch actor played a Munchkin in the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz. And until his death Nov. 15, 2011, at age 93, Slover was still a big part of our memories of the film, appearing at Oz festivals and in interviews.
Slover, the shortest Munchkin in the film, had not just one but four roles: the first trumpeter, a soldier, a sleepyhead, and a singer of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road." Even into his nineties, Slover still loved to sing, often performing "We're Off to See the Wizard" at festivals and in interviews.
The Wizard of Oz wasn't Slover's only movie; he appeared in films like The Terror of Tiny Town and Bringing Up Baby. He also worked in carnivals and vaudeville shows. But it was The Wizard of Oz that stuck with him – he attended yearly celebrations of Judy Garland's birthday, sang and spoke at Wizard of Oz gatherings, and attended the dedication of a Munchkin star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
The last surviving munchkin Jerry Maren died the last week of May, 2018, at the age of 98. As we remember Slover, we tip our hats to Maren and a few other Munchkins who have died in recent years:
Jerry Maren played the munchkin who hands Dorothy a welcome Lollipop from the Lollipop Guild.
Ruth Robinson Duccini was the last surviving female munchkin. She also appeared in the spoof "Under the Rainbow" starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.
Margaret Pellegrini played one of the "sleepy head" kids and wore a flowerpot on her head in the movie.
Mickey Carroll played Munchkinland's town crier, clad in an impressive purple cloak with a yellow flower in his vest.
Meinhardt Raabe played the Munchkin coroner, pronouncing the Wicked Witch of the East "really, most sincerely dead!"
Elly Annie Schneider played a Munchkin villager in The Wizard of Oz and also performed in circuses.
Clarence Swenson played a Munchkin soldier and remembered being delighted and overwhelmed by the expansive Wizard of Oz set.
Shirley Vegors was just 7 when The Wizard of Oz was released, and she played a little-girl Munchkin.