Friday, May 08, 2009

Mae West: Mickey Carroll

A very special actor who worked with MAE WEST has met his final curtain.
• • Word comes that Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving Munchkins from the iconic 1939 screen classic "The Wizard of Oz" died recently at age 89. It was his only motion picture but his brief cameos were most memorable. .
• • Born in St. Louis on 8 July 1919, Mickey Carroll's birthname was Michael Finocchiaro. The son of Italian immigrants who carved marble cemetery monuments, he grew up with a twin sister and four older siblings, all of whom are deceased.
• • It was a pituitary condition that caused Carroll's height to stop at 4-foot-3.
• • What he lacked in stature he made up for with an abundance of appeal, personality, and comedic timing. When presidential hopeful Franklin D. Roosevelt was campaigning in New York City, Mickey Carroll helped warm up the voters. He was also hired as a crowd-getter during Harry Truman's whistlestop campaign.
• • In St. Louis, Carroll tripped the light fantastic at the Muny Theater when he was still an elementary school pupil. Afterwards, he appeared in Chicago clubs and on the Orpheum Theater vaudeville circuit.
• • Expanding his specialties, Mickey Carroll also did Phillip Morris live radio ads — — "Call for Philip Morris!" — — and appeared in shows with Mae West. He followed up those successes with radio shows with George Burns, Gracie Allen, Jack Benny, and Al Jolson.
• • In November 2007, Mickey Carroll received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame along with six other surviving Munchkins: Ruth Duccini, Jerry Maren, Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover, and Clarence Swensen.
• • Until January of this year, the pint-size performer enjoyed living in his own home in Bel-Nor. After he got a pacemaker, however, he began boarding with a caretaker, who told the press that he died in his sleep, very peacefully, and perhaps dreaming of following the yellow brick road in the wonderful land of Oz.

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