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Last surviving ‘Oz’ Munchkin dies

LOS ANGELES

Jerry Maren, the last surviving Munchkin from the classic 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” and the one who famously welcomed Dorothy to Munchkinland, has died at age 98.

Maren died May 24 at a San Diego nursing home, his niece, Stacy Michelle Barrington, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

In an entertainment career that spanned more than 70 years, he portrayed The Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese in McDonald’s commercials, appeared in scores of films and TV shows and made personal appearances as Little Oscar for Oscar Mayer hot dogs.

But it was his role as one of the Lollipop Kids in “The Wizard of Oz” that always held a special place in his heart. He would show up regularly at film conventions, Munchkin gatherings and other events honoring the cast over the years.

David Cassidy said he never had dementia

LOS ANGELES

A new documentary quotes David Cassidy as saying he was still drinking in the last years of his life and he did not have dementia.

People magazine reported Wednesday the former teen idol called producers of an A&E documentary after he fell ill and told them he had liver disease. In the recorded conversation, Cassidy said there was no sign of dementia and it was “complete alcohol poisoning.”

The former “Partridge Family” star said he had lied by telling friends and family he had stopped drinking.

Cassidy died of organ failure in November at age 67.

Producer John Marks told People that Cassidy wanted to be honest once and for all.

Associated Press

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