Ruth Duccini: Second-to-last Surviving “OZ” Munchkin Dies at 95By: Jasmine Allen - January 17, 2014
One of the original Munchkins of the 1939 film “Wizard of Oz” has passed away.
At 95-years-old, Ruth Robinson Duccini died from natural causes on Thursday in Las Vegas’ Solari Hospice Care Center.
Stephen Cox, the author of “The Munchkins of Oz” and an adamant follower of the film’s little people, confirmed her death.
Duccini was born on July 23, 1918 in Rush City, Minn. Growing up she felt out of place and was never aware that there were other small people like her. However, everything changed for her after joining a dwarf entertainment company at the age of 20.
At just 4-feet-tall, Duccini started her career as part of a little people company that eventually decided to travel to California to star in the magical film, “The Wizard of OZ.”
Over the years she saw a lot of her close friends and film colleagues pass away, which was the most painful part of her experience as a Munchkin; especially when she would watch the film.
However, she enjoyed being apart of such a timeless musical film.
Although it was one of her most memorable achievements, it wasn’t what she believed to be her most honorable achievement.
Duccini was also an aircraft riveter during World War II at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica. Her size became an asset during the war, allowing her to squeeze through tighter and smaller spaces that taller adults couldn’t do otherwise.
“I’m very proud of my work during the war, maybe more proud of that than being in the movie,” she told Cox.
Duccini was the last surviving female Munchkin, but one other male actor, 93-year-old Jerry Maren, still remains alive from the original casting crew of 124.
She leaves behind her son, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Here’s a very short interview with Duccini: