Meinhardt Raabe dies
Sat, 10 Apr 2010 14:53:20 GMT —
Meinhardt Raabe worked vaudeville and expositions, but his part as Munchkin coroner in 'The Wizard of Oz' gave him a lifelong career.Raabe has died, in Florida, at age 94. His retirement home caregiver says he complained of a sore throat, then apparently went into cardiac arrest.Raabe was 22, and a show business veteran, when he was offered one of the 9 speaking parts for Munchkins in the 1939 film classic.His words, referring to the witch who Dorothy's house landed on:: "As coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her, And she's not only merely dead, she's really most sincerely dead."Raabe was a frequent visitor to Chittenango's OzFest, and is credited with bringing other Munchkins to Central New York, as well.He was born in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1915, was a member of the Midget City cast at the Chicago World's Fair in 1934 and at other fairs, including the San Diego Exposition in 1935. Raabe was three and a half feet tall when The Wizard of Oz was made, and grew a foot afterwards. After the movie, he toured the country for 30 years in the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, promoting hot dogs as "Little Oscar, the World's Smallest Chef." He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin and, years later, a master's degree in business administration from Drexel University. He was married to Marie Hartline, who worked in a midget vaudeville show---she died in a car crash in 1997.