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“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” A memorable munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz.”

05 Aug
MunchkinRice

Ann Rice Leslie

After my middle sister was born in the 1950’s, it was later discovered that she had a condition which made her very small for her age. Knowing that she might always be little, our mother thought it would help if my sister could meet others like her. For years, we had heard that our grandma was friends with one of the Oz munchkins, who was now retired and living in our city. So, Mom jumped on that idea and took us both to visit Ann Rice Leslie, one of the Singer Midgets who performed in the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz.” Mom also mentioned that she had played with Ann’s daughter, Jane, when they were young. 

We couldn’t believe that we were going to meet a real live actor, a munchkin from Oz! At invitation, we entered Ann’s apartment with much excitement. Ann greeted us warmly, all 3’6″ of her! As I looked around the apartment, I noticed one tiny rocking chair and one huge rocking chair (reminded me of Goldilocks). When asked about those chairs, Ann told us about Fremont, her 6’2″ husband who obviously needed a bigger chair. I was amazed that her kitchen was normal-sized: “he can reach all the high places,” she said. A match made in Oz!

We all talked for a bit, letting my sister enjoy being with someone her height, and, like typical starry-eyed fans, we asked some questions; Ann politely answered them all. The one question I can remember was if she had a favorite actor in the Oz movie. Without hesitation, she said it was Frank Morgan (Wizard, Gatekeeper, Prof Marvel, etc.), and her next favorite was Judy Garland because she was “so sweet to all of us” during the making of the film. 

Singer's_Midgets_-_carnival_poster

Singer Midgets poster

A firecracker baby, Ann Rice Leslie was born on July 4th, 1900 in Rhode Island. Ann resided in NYC when the Oz movie flyers came out looking for little people. Before the film, Ann was either a member already or became one later in the Singer Midgets Troupe, a vaudeville group formed around 1912.

AnnRiceLeslieJohnAasen

“Ann Rice Leslie with circus giant John Aasen Circa 1920”

Recently, I was ecstatic to find a 43-second silent film clip of Ann, husband Fremont, daughter Jane, and the family dog at their home in 1931. My uncle used to say that he could pick out Ann in the film, but we never could; we just knew she played one of the villagers. Before we left Ann, she signed my movie edition book of “The Wizard of Oz,” and I realized how lucky we were to meet such a gentle and gracious lady. In 1973, our friend Ann died.

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3 Comments

Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Movie, Photos, Video

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to ““Come out, come out, wherever you are.” A memorable munchkin from “The Wizard of Oz.”

  1. ROCK MASSA

    January 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Ann Rice Leslie Was Born On July 4, 1900 In East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

     
  2. Kathy Johnson

    December 25, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Ann and my grandmother Ida Geesaman worked together at Amluxson’s in downtown Mpls. She would babysit my mother Doris, and my mother would babysit their daughter Jane. I babysat for Jane and her husband Ted. I remember visiting her at that apartment. She would sit in her tiny chair and wore white gloves.

     
    • ted kondrak

      June 21, 2016 at 10:47 am

      hi. i am ted kondrak husband of jane. jane passed away on oct 3rd 2010. i remember you did babysit for us. we used to drop off our kids at your grandmas house. i also remember ann did work with your grandma. do live in mpls. now? i a lso remember your dad worked at pontiac dealer on lake street.. get back to me if you want to know more about jane and her mother. ted

       

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