'Wizard Of Oz' Munchkin dies at 93

Karl Slover best known for playing lead trumpeter

Published On: Nov 17 2011 11:01:47 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 17 2011 01:30:29 PM EST
Karl Slover

Karl Slover, one of the last surviving actors who played a Munchkin in the 1939 classic film "The Wizard of Oz," has died.

The 4-foot-5 Slover died of cardiopulmonary arrest Tuesday afternoon in a central Georgia hospital, Laurens County Deputy Coroner Nathan Stanley told The Associated Press.

Slover was best known for playing the lead trumpeter in the Munchkins' band but also had roles as a townsman and soldier in the film, said John Fricke, author of "100 Years of Oz" and five other books on the movie and its star, Judy Garland.

He was one of the tiniest male Munchkins in the movie.

Slover was born Karl Kosiczky in what is now the Czech Republic and was the only child in his family to be dwarf sized, according to the AP.

His father tried various witch doctor treatments to make him grow, and eventually sold him at age 9 to a traveling show in Europe, Fricke said.

Slover continued to perform into his late 20s, when he moved to the United States, changed his name and appeared in circuses as part of a vaudeville group known as the Singer Midgets. The group's 30 performers became the nucleus of the Munchkins.