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Margaret Pellegrini

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Margaret Pellegrini Obituary
Pellegrini, Margaret Williams
Margaret Pellegrini finished her 75-year journey on the Yellowbrick Road at dawn, August 7, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. She succumbed to complications from a stroke suffered in March. The 4-foot, 89-year old enjoyed life-long fame as one of 124 little people who played the Munchkins in MGM's film classic, "The Wizard of Oz." She was one of the Flower Pot Munchkins and a Sleepy Head. Proof of Margaret's popularity could be found in the hundreds of get well cards from all over the country filling her room at Beatitudes Campus of Care. Of all the Munchkins, Margaret made the most public appearances, criss-crossing Arizona as well as America to appear in Oz-themed fairs, MGM events, film fests and even parades. She was a special guest at countless "Wizard of Oz" stage productions. A highlight of Margaret's "Oz" life was when the Munchkins received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in November, 2007. Only two of Margaret's co-stars survive: Ruth Duccini and Jerry Maren. Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Margaret was 14 when she received the invitation that would change her life. MGM was looking for "little people" for the Munchkinland scene of the studio's big-budget production of L. Frank Baum's children classic. With her parents' blessing, Margaret took the train to Hollywood by herself and worked on the film in the fall of 1938. It was released in August, 1939. Margaret married Chicago bantamweight boxer Willie Pellegrini in 1943. He preceded her in death as did her two children, Will, Jr. and Joey and a great-great grandchild. Surviving Margaret are grandchildren William III, Anna, Juliette, Joe Vincent Pellegrini and Dawnelle Mowrey. Great grandchildren are: Anthony, Ashley, Barbara, Cheryl, Dalyn, Elizabeth, Heaven, Kaylee and Shayla. Also surviving the long-time Glendale resident are great-great grandchild Sejla, son-in-law Art Mowrey and several nieces, Services are private, with Menke Funeral Home handling arrangements. The Pellegrini family invites the public to a Celebration of Life in the Beatitudes' Luther Life Center, 1610 W. Glendale Avenue, Phoenix from 1:30 to 2:30pm Sunday, August 18. The family also invites the public to remember Margaret with a donation to her favorite show-biz charity: Valley Youth Theatre, 807 North Third St., Phx, AZ 85004. www.vyt.com.


Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 14, 2013
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