Florida Times-Union --
Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munchkin coroner in the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," is dead at 94.
Mr. Raabe died Friday at his home in Penney Farms, a Clay County retirement community where he had lived since 1986, said Bob Rigel, president of the Penney Retirement Community.
He had one speech in "The Wizard of Oz," pronouncing the Wicked Witch of the East dead: "I thoroughly examined her. And she's not merely dead. She's really, most sincerely dead!"
It was brief but it opened doors, he told The Times-Union in 2007.
"Twelve seconds and I made a living at it ever since," he said.
He was referring to his three decades working as a spokesman and salesman for Oscar Mayer, where he was known as "Little Oscar, World's Smallest Chef." In that job, Mr Raabe frequently traveled in the Weinermobile.
After moving to Northeast Florida with his wife, Marie, who died in a 1997 automobile accident, Mr. Raabe made frequent appearances at "Wizard of Oz" festivals and events.
"He just loved being around children," said Cindy Bosnyak, a long-time friend and travel companion in recent years.
He also liked being around other "little people," such as his fellow Munchkins, and hoped he was an inspiration to them, Bosnyak said.
In 2007 he was one of six Munchkins who went to Los Angeles to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Last September he was one of five Munchkins who went to New York for a 70th anniversary celebration of the beloved movie.
Mr. Raabe was born and raised in Watertown, Wis., the grandson of German immigrants.
As a young man, he put himself through college by working at the Chicago Fair and developed the habit of reading constantly, he told Bosnyak.
"He was a man with a head full of hair and he had everything upstairs," she said. "... He was a walking history book."
Mr. Raabe earned master's degrees in horticulture and in accounting, taught German as a substitute teacher and was a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol during World War II, she said.
Bosnyak said Mr. Raabe's remains will be cremated and returned to Watertown where his only surviving relative, a sister, Marion Ziegelman, lives.
A memorial service will be in Clay County May 1 at a time and place to be determined.