Signed Photo Wizard of Oz Munchkin Soldier - 1988
Colorful photograph of Clarence Swensen as a Munchkin Soldier in 1939’s classic The Wizard of Oz, inscribed and authentically signed by Swensen before poor health required him to use a rubber stamp in later years.
CLARENCE SWENSEN (1917-2009) was an American actor and was one of the last surviving Munchkins from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Swensen was born in 1917 and grew up in Austin, Texas. He was not allowed to attend a public school until he was nine, because of his size. At 4′ 6″, he played one of the 25 Munchkin soldiers in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz which starred Judy Garland. He also appeared in Tarzan Finds a Son! with Johnny Weissmuller.
After suffering a stroke in 2005, he was unable to walk and ended up in a wheelchair as a result. He suffered from poor health then after but still attended many events with the other surviving Munchkins, including the presentation of the Munchkins’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. He died on February 25, 2009.
As of this writing there are six dwarf actors who played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz still living:
- Ruth Duccini (born 1918 ) — played a villager
- Jerry Maren (born 1920 ) — one of the three members of “The Lollipop Guild”
- Olga C. Nardone — one of the “Lullaby League” members (no longer makes appearances)
- Margaret Pellegrini (born 1923) — played a “sleepyhead”
- Meinhardt Raabe (born 1915) — played the coroner; now the only surviving cast member with any significant dialogue in the film
- Karl Slover (born 1918) — played a soldier, a “sleepyhead” and a villager
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