Oz in the News 8.8.13

6C8551551-130807-ent-munchkin-vmed.blocks_desktop_small‘Wizard of Oz’s’ flowerpot munchkin dies at 89  Margaret Pellegrini, one of the latest surviving munchkins from the “Wizard of Oz,” died Wednesday from complications from a stroke at the age of 89, her close friend Bunny McCloud confirmed to TODAY.com.  Pellegrini, who would have turned 90 in September, was only 16 years old when she acted alongside Judy Garland in the 1939 film. In March 2013, during promotions for “Oz,” she told a Glendale news station that she was paid $50 a week for her work in the movie. While that was a substantial salary at the time, it was still less than the film’s canine star, Toto. “He got paid more than I did!” she said. “He got $125 a week and I only got $50!”

‘Wizard of Oz’ community mourns for Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini; memorial in Syracuse Friday  In Syracuse, a memorial will be held for Pellegrini at the Landmark Theatre on Friday. Descendents of the Baum family will be there at 7:30 p.m. for a discussion of Pellegrini’s upcoming book, “Forever a Munchkin: My Life from Tennessee to Tinseltown.” The memorial is part of an already scheduled two-day fundraiser event called “Without This Home There’d Be No Oz” at the Landmark. Events Friday and Saturday aim to preserve the West Onondaga Street house where Baum met his wife, Maud Gage.

‘Wizard of Oz’ fundraiser seeks to save Syracuse house where L. Frank Baum met his wife  Kathleen Di Scenna and her small team at the Lyman Frank Baum Foundation have organized fundraisers on Friday and Saturday at the Landmark Theatre, 362 S. Salina St., Syracuse, titled “Without This Home, There’d Be No Oz.” The goal is to purchase the run-down property on 678 W. Onondaga St. called the Neal House, previously owned by William and Harriet Baum Neal. Harriet was the sister of famed author L. Frank Baum. Her home was the setting of not only “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” author’s formative years, but also the place where he met his future wife, Maud Gage, in 1881.  The featured exhibit on Friday evening is Michael Siewert’s show “Judy Garland — The Incomparable!” It is a journey through Garland’s early days in Vaudeville through her most noted roles on both the big and small screen. Also on Friday, there will be appearances by descendants of the Baum family and a memorial for “Wizard of Oz” munchkin Margaret Pellegrini, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 89. A discussion of Pellegrini’s upcoming book “Forever a Munchkin: My Life from Tennessee to Tinseltown” was also planned before her passing. On Saturday afternoon, there is a costume parade, where children and adults alike are encouraged to show off their best costumes from the book and film. The fundraiser wraps up Saturday evening with “Judy Garland — The Dressing of a Legend,” which features various dresses and costumes worn by the beloved actress throughout her career.

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