Jerry Maren, literally a piece of cinema history has passed away. He was the last surviving munchkin from The Wizard of Oz.

This news hit me hard when I heard it this morning, because I had the great honor of interviewing Jerry and spending time with him just a few years ago. It was amazing. Could you imagine sitting in a room with someone who can talk about his first hand accounts on the set of the Wizard of Oz?

Jerry was so nice to me. He told me stories of how Judy Garland would check in on him each morning to see if he needed anything, and what it was like on the set while some of the most legendary moments in cinema history were filmed.

Then Jerry noticed I had a humidor in my office. He was a big cigar fan, and I learned Macanudo was one of his brands of choice. I told him to help himself to a Macanudo from my humidor.

He took the cigar. slid it into his breast pocket and said he'd be glad to smoke a cigar with me, but he was going to save the Macanudo. I jumped at the opportunity, and a few minutes later, I was smoking a cigar with a member of the Lollipop Guild.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that cigar and that conversation. Jerry was a true treasure, and after spending only about an hour with him,  I knew I'd remember the experience forever.

There have been times over the past few years when I'd light up a cigar and my conversation with Jerry would cross my mind. And I'd wonder if he enjoyed that Macanudo when he finally got around to smoking it.

Jerry you will be missed. You already are.

Lou with "Wizard of Oz" Munchkin Jerry Maren
Lou with "Wizard of Oz" Munchkin Jerry Maren (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

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