Stargazing

Mickey Carroll, one of the last Munchkins, dies in St. Louis area

Our Oz-loving hearts are breaking at this news.

St. Louis actor

Mickey Carroll

, one of the last surviving Munchkins from "The Wizard of Oz," died Thursday at age 89 at the home of his caretaker in Crestwood, Mo.

In 2007, he and the other Munchkins were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mr. Carroll, whose real name was Michael Finocchiaro, grew up in north St. Louis.

Even though the "Wizard of Oz," was his only movie, this son of Italian immigrants remained something of a celebrity throughout his life, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

When he made "Oz" at age 18 he was just over 3 feet tall. He kept growing until he was into his 40s, when he stood 4 feet 3 inches, said his friend

Stephen Cox

. "You could call him 'Munchkin,' and he was quite proud of that," Cox said Thursday.

Of the 124 little people in the movie, Mr. Carroll was among the last surviving seven, said Cox, who has written a book on the subject.

Carroll told The Associated Press in a 2007 interview that the Munchkins made only $125 a week while filming. He was cast as the violin-playing "Town Crier" in the movie, dressed in purple with a yellow flower in his vest.

"When we were making the movie, we were singing 'Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead' and 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road.' We didn't know what we were saying, it was like gibberish, but I knew it was going to be a hit because of

Judy Garland

," Carroll said once in an interview. "She was so sweet as a teenager."

Carroll never married and was the last of his brothers and sisters.

| Lisa Gutierrez, The Star

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