Margaret (Williams) Pellegrini

20112011Pellegrini
Margaret (Williams) Pellegrini
(1923-2013)

The delightful and diminutive Margaret (Williams) Pellegrini was born in 1923 in Alabama. She was a just a three-foot-four-inch teenager when she headed west for filming, but she stepped off the train in California and right into history. She was cast as both a Munchkin townsperson and Sleepyhead Munchkin in MGM’s 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz.

Following the filming, Margaret traveled briefly with midget troupes and appeared in Johnny Got His Gun (1971), but her adult life was devoted primarily to her husband and raising their two children. Decades passed in relative quiet until the 1980s, when the cast of Munchkinland was sought out by film historians and curious fans. The stream of public appearances, autographs, photos, and documentaries never stopped. When asked to share their memories, Margaret, wearing a replica of her flowerpot Munchkin costume, served hers up with extraordinary detail. Annual Oz festivals, Oz Club conventions, Munchkin cruises, and Oz events around the country found a favorite in Miss Margaret.

Margaret was at the Oz Club’s centennial celebration and attended Munchkin, Ozmopolitan, and Winkie Conventions. She joined fellow Munchkins at the May 2006 Oz-Mania event celebrating L. Frank Baum’s 150th birthday. She was there for the 2007 festivities to unveil a star honoring the Munchkins on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Margaret’s newspaper, radio, and television interviews were countless, and she provided forewords to both Cooking in Oz (1999) and the 70th anniversary book The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic (2009).