Archive for April 10th, 2010

Meinhardt Raabe Obituary

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

OBITUARY

Meinhardt Raabe, famous Munchkin, Is dead at 94

 

 

  

By Margalit Fox
New York Times
April 10, 2010

As coroner, I must aver
I thoroughly examined her.
And she’s not only merely dead,
She’s really most sincerely dead.

 

When Meinhardt Raabe, an unknown 23-year-old from Wisconsin, sang those lines in his first and only Hollywood feature film, he little suspected that they would shape the course of his life for the next seven decades.

 

The lines, of course, belong to the Munchkin coroner in the classic 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Mr. Raabe’s brief appearance in the film — about 13 seconds of uncredited screen time — made him an internationally recognized pop-cultural figure, if not precisely a household name.

 

Mr. Raabe, who was also a wartime aviator and the first Little Oscar, the mascot of the Oscar Mayer meat company, died Friday in Orange Park, Fla., at 94. Bob Rigel, president of the Penney Retirement Community in Penney Farms, Fla., where Mr. Raabe had lived since 1986, said that the cause had not been officially determined but that it was presumed to be a heart attack.

 

At his death, Mr. Raabe was one of a handful of surviving Munchkins from the film.

 

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Shirley Mills Obituary

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

OBITUARY

Shirley Mills Hanson; Child actress in ‘Grapes of Wrath’

 

 

 

Los Angeles Times 

 

Shirley Mills Hanson, 83, a former child actress who played young Ruthie Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath,” director John Ford’s classic 1940 film based on the John Steinbeck novel, died March 31 of complications of pneumonia at a convalescent hospital in Arcadia, said stepdaughter Deniece Zwick.

 

Born April 8, 1926, in Tacoma, Wash., Hanson moved with her family to Southern California in 1937 to break into the movies. A crying scene with Gloria Jean in the 1939 musical “The Under-Pup” prompted Ford to test her for the role of Ruthie Joad.

 

Among other films in which she appeared as Shirley Mills are “Young People” and “Miss Annie Rooney,” both starring Shirley Temple. Hanson also was a teenage member of Universal’s jitterbug dance troupe the Jivin’ Jacks and Jills in the ’40s and worked as a fashion and advertising model.

 

After later working as a nightclub performer and stage personality, Hanson became a female pioneer in selling data-processing services in the 1960s and became the first female president of the Data Processing Management Assn. in Los Angeles.

 

She then became vice president of marketing and public relations for Management Applied Programming, a major data processing center, for which she started a division for nonprofit organizations.

 

Hanson also launched her own wedding planning company, A Party for All Seasons. She married Mel Hanson in 1977; he died in a car accident 18 years later.

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