Minnesota Women in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Finally Honored with Monument
It's common knowledge that the woman who played Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz', Judy Garland, was from Minnesota. But there's another star in the movie that lots of people likely don't know about. I just learned about her today and it's exciting that she finally has a monument in her honor in her Minnesota hometown!
In 'The Wizard of Oz' there's a whole bunch of people that are called Munchkins who live in Munchkinland. This Minnesota woman was one of the Munchkins! And it's pretty easy to pick her out in the movie because she's actually the shortest Munchkin.
Her name is Hildred Olson and she's from Dassel, MN. She stood only 36 inches tall, just 3 feet! In the picture below you can catch a glimpse of her right next to Dorothy's basket.
Hildred was one the oldest of four girls in her family who were born with dwarfism, according to KARE 11. She ended up being recruited to be in 'The Wizard of Oz' in 1938 but sadly she never lived to see the massive success of the movie.
Hildred was 32 when she was recruited for the movie. She passed away at the age of 52 in 1958. So she was around when the movie was released but she never got to see it become such an iconic movie and have such an impact on people's lives.
She now lives in on her hometown of Dassel thanks to a new monument. Tom Nelson, the caretaker at the cemetery where Hildred is buried, the Dassel Community Cemetary, said he's always asked "'I’m looking for the Munchkin’s grave, do you know where it is?’”
Her stone was all covered up for a long time but Dassel History Center volunteer, Bill Ward, wanted to make sure Hildred got the recognition she deserves. On Saturday, an exhibit about Hildred opened at the history center. And she also now has a proper monument that stands as tall as she did, 36 inches tall.