Mickey Carroll, one of the few surviving actors who portrayed the residents of Munchkinland in MGM’s 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz, has passed away yesterday, May 7, 2009 in Crestwood, Missouri. He was 89.
Dressed in a purple costume with a yellow flower on his vest, Carroll portrayed Munchikinland’s Town Crier, instructing Judy Garland’s Dorothy to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road!”
Carroll was born on July 18, 1919 in St. Louis, Missouri. The son of Italian immigrants, he began taking dance lessons at the St. Louis Fox Theater at the age of 7, where he met actor, and future Oz Tin Woodsman, Jack Haley. Carroll accompanied Haley to Hollywood and quickly landed the role of Mickey in seven Our Gang shorts. At age 17, he was one of six bellhops in the “Call for Phillip Morris!” live radio commercials. A year later he was appearing on stage with Mae West.
For The Wizard Of Oz, Carroll joined nearly 100 child and little people actors to play the denizens of Munchkinland. In addition to his duties as Town Crier, Carroll as played a soldier and one of the fiddlers who start Dorothy on her way to the Emerald City of Oz.
Carroll stayed in shop business a few more years, primarily doing voice over work for film and appearing on numerous radio shows. He also continued to perform in vaudeville and he was the warm-up for Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman during their presidential campaigns. He eventually left show business in the mid-1940s to return home to Missouri and run the family business. In later years, he was able to use his fame as a former Munchkin to help raise money for several charities.
In 2007, Carroll joined six other surviving Munkinland actors in Los Angeles to represent the entire group in receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.