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One of last "Wizard of Oz" Munchkins dies

 Mickey Carroll arrives at the
Mickey Carroll arrives at the 'Ruby Red Slipper' DVD gala screening event in Beverly Hills, California in this October 19, 2005 file photo. Carroll, one of the last surviving diminutive 'Munchkins' in the 1939 movie 'The Wizard of Oz,' died of natural causes on May 7, 2009 in Missouri at age 89, a newspaper reported. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello
— image credit: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving diminutive "Munchkins" in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," died of natural causes on Thursday in Missouri at age 89, a newspaper reported.

Carroll, who stopped growing at a young age, was an entertainer early in life and befriended actress Judy Garland, leading to a role alongside her in classic "The Wizard of Oz," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

He was a violin-playing Munchkin "Town Crier" in the movie, dressed in purple with a yellow flower in his vest. There were dozens of Munchkins in all.

In 2007, Carroll and a few other surviving Munchkins attended a ceremony to dedicate a Munchkin star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Born to Italian immigrants in 1919, Carroll's given name was Michael Finocchiaro, the Post-Dispatch reported. He died at a caretaker's home in Crestwood, Missouri, and he lived in the state nearly his entire life, the newspaper said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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