Last 'Wizard of Oz' munchkin Jerry Maren dead at 98

The end of an era. Wizard of Oz star Jerry Maren has died. He was 98.

Maren was the last living member of the Wizard of Oz Munchkin crew, according to his Instagram page. He was most recognized for his role in the 1939 film, in which he was one of 124 Lollipop Guild characters.

The actor died at a San Diego nursing care facility over a week ago, according to TMZ. The outlet notes that his funeral was held over the weekend in Hollywood and though his cause of death is unknown, it’s reported that he suffered from dementia.

Maren helped welcome the film’s main character Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) to Munchkinland in the movie by handing her a lollipop after a tornado swept through her Kansas home landing her in the fictional land. He was only 18 at the time of filming.

See photos of Jerry Maren:

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Jerry Maren throughout his life
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Jerry Maren throughout his life
1939: Jerry Maren, playing a Lollipop Guild Member, presents Judy Garland with a lollipop in the film 'The Wizard of Oz.'
The 'Munchkin' Jerry Maren, the 'Lollipop Kid.'
7/9/99 Los Angeles, CA. Jerry Maren (one of the munchkins in 'The Wizard Of Oz') and WWF wrestler Hulk Hogan at the Video Software Dealer's Association (VSDA) held at the Los Angeles Convention. Photo by David Keeler/Online USA, Inc.
Jerry Maren, Leader of the Lollipop Guild and one of the last surviving Munchkins from 1939's classic 'The Wizard of Oz,' returns to the Culver Hotel to help save the site from possible closure due to a parking dispute with Culver City. The Munchkins were booked three to a bed here during the 1938 MGM production starring Judy Garland, which filmed nearby at the former MGM Studios, now Sony Pictures Studios. The hotel, originally built in 1924 by actor-director Charles Chaplin and Culver City founder Harry Culver, was ultimately saved and remains open. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
Jerry Maren (R), Leader of the Lollipop Guild and one of the last surviving Munchkins from 1939's classic 'The Wizard of Oz,' and wife Elizabeth return to the landmark Culver Hotel to help save the site from possible closure due to a parking dispute with Culver City. The Munchkins were booked three to a bed here during the 1938 MGM production starring Judy Garland, which filmed nearby at the former MGM Studios, now Sony Pictures Studios. The hotel, originally built in 1924 by actor-director Charles Chaplin and Culver City founder Harry Culver, was ultimately saved and remains open. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage)
Jerry Maren, original Munchkin from 'The Wizard of Oz' (Photo by Michael Schwartz/WireImage)
The original Munchkins from the 1938 movie classic 'The Wizard of Oz' prepare to walk down the yellow carpet to receive the 2,3552nd Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during the induction ceremony, 20 November 2007 in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. From right to left are: Meinhardt Raabe, Margaret Pelligrini, Ruth Duccini, Karl Slover, Mickey Carroll, Jerry Maren, Clarence Swensen. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 03: Actor Jerry Maren (L) and Joey Luft, son of the late Judy Garland, attend the AMPAS Screening Of 'The Wizard Of Oz' at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on August 3, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 29: Actor Jerry Maren arrives for the 2009 Hollywood Christmas Parade at The Roosevelt Hotel on November 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 08: (L-R) Elizabeth Barrington, her husband actor Jerry Maren, actress Margaret O'Brien, Judy Garland's son Joey Luft and writer Jack Allen pose with Garland's wax figure at it's unveiling at Madame Tussauds Hollywood on June 8, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
NEILL J SCHUTZER/�2010 RAMEY PHOTO Burbank, California, November 26, 2010 The original lollipop Munchkin Jerry Maren (he handed the sucker to Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz) had a book signing at Alexa's It's New To You collectible store in Burbank. Jerry was joined by his wife Elizabeth and the owner of Alexa's Jeff. NJS (Photo by Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor and one of 'The Munchkins' from the 'Wizard of Oz' Jerry Maren is immortalized with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on September 18, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor and one of 'The Munchkins' from the 'Wizard of Oz' Jerry Maren is immortalized with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on September 18, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Actor and one of 'The Munchkins' from the 'Wizard of Oz' Jerry Maren (C) is immortalized with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on September 18, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: 'The Lollipop Kid' actor Jerry Maren, 93, Last Of The 'Munchkins' from 'The Wizard Of Oz' attends the Handprint-Footprint Ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre on September 18, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John M. Heller/FilmMagic)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 23: (Row 9 L-R) Virginie Ledoyen, Ferid Boughedir, Sergio Castellitto, Jia Zhang Ke, Alain Cavalier, Benoit Jacquot, Raoul Peck, Bong Joon Ho, Barbet Schroeder, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Michele Ray Gavras, Brillante Mendoza. (Row 8 L-R) Yorgos Lanthimos, Tonie Marshall, Elia Suleiman, Jerzy Skolimowski, Valeria Golino, Gael Garcia Bernal, Ludivine Sagnier, Matteo Garrone, Celine Sallette, Antonio Banderas, Amos Gitai, Ariane Labed, Edouard Baer. (Row 7 L-R) Laura Morante, Fatih Akin, Andre Dussollier, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Nicole Garcia, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marthe Keller, Michel Hazanavicius, Kristn Scott Thomas, Shu-Qi, Diego Luna, Paul Laverty. (Row 6 L-R) Laetitia Casta, Cecile de France, Colin Farrell, Emmanuelle Beart, Valerie Donzelli, Andre Techine, Marion Cotillard, Nicolas Winding Refn, Emmanuelle Devos, Naomi Kawase, Abderrahmane Sissako, Jacques Doillon, Severine Caneele. (Row 5 L-R) Augustin Almodovar, Gabriel Yared, Fan Bing Bing, Paolo Sorrentino, Maren Ade, Park Chan-Wook, Jessica Chastain, Will Smith, Agnes Jaoui, Reda Kateb, Sandrine Kiberlain, Sandrine Bonnaire, Mohamed Diab, Joachim Lafosse. (Row 4 L-R) Nastassja Kinski, Gaspar Noe, Abel Ferrara, Salma Hayek, Sofia Coppola, Mathieu Kassovitz, Charlize Theron, Maiween, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Dario Argento, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Elle Fanning. (Row 3 L-R) Elodie Bouchez, Emilie Dequenne, Mads Mikkelsen, Emmanuelle Bercot, Christoph Waltz, Berenice Bejo, Juliette Binoche, Uma Thurman, Oliver Stone, Monica Bellucci, Benicio del Toro, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Lambert Wilson. (Row 2 L-R) Andrea Arnold, Claudia Cardinale, George Miller, Liv Ullmann, Catherine Deneuve, Pedro Almodovar, Isabelle Huppert, Nicole Kidman, Vincent Lindon, Kirsten Dunst, Agnes Varda, Diane Kruger. (Row 1 L-R) Laurent Cantet, Cristian Mungiu, Jerry Schatzberg, Claude Lelouch, Michael Haneke, Roman Polanski, Jane Campion, Ken Loach, Nanni Moretti, Costa Gavras, Bille August, Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina attend the 70th Anniversary Photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
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Following his role in the legendary motion picture, he continued to work as an actor into the early 2000’s, even landing a walk-on role in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld. Maren joined a handful of his Oz costars for the unveiling of a “Munchkin” star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2007.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Elizabeth who passed away in 2011 at the age of 69. The two first met at an organization Little People of America meeting and tied the knot in Las Vegas in 1975, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Hollywood Reporter noted in an August 2016 story that they had reached out to Maren for an interview about little people working in Hollywood, however, his family told the outlet that he was “too frail to submit to an interview.”

Ruth Robinson Duccini, the second-to-last member of the Munchkin group, died in 2014 at the age of 95.

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Celebrities who died in 2018

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