Meinhardt Raabe, who famously pronounced the Wicked Witch of the East dead after Dorothy’s house fell on her in MGM’s 1939 classic The Wizard Of Oz, has died Friday, April 9th, in Orange Park, FL after an apparent heart attack. He was 94.
Raabe was just one of nine of the 124 little people actors hired for the film who had a speaking part in the scenes where the Munchkins welcome the twister-tossed Dorothy (Judy Garland) to the magical, Technicolor land of Oz. Although The Wizard Of Oz was his only film appearance, Raabe was an active supporter of the film in later years, appearing at fan conventions and in various documentaries.In 2007, he was one of seven surviving Munchkins who appeared at the unveiling of a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame for the group.
But Oz wasn’t his only show business experience. Raabe was a member of the Midget City cast at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. That job, and other similar gigs, helped pay for his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin.
Raabe also worked for Oscar Meyer for 30 years in their public relations department. He spent much of that time traveling the country in the company’s famous “Weinermobile” as “Oscar Meyer, the World’s Littlest Chef,” promoting the company’s hot dog products.