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Margaret Pellegrini, Flowerpot Lady

Story & Photo By: Dee (DEEDUN) Dunheim

Margaret Pellegrini

When asked if she has children, Margaret Pellegrini says 'I have two-four-six.' That means two children, four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Pellegrini held two roles in the 1939 Wizard of Oz classic. 'I was one of the Sleepy Heads in the bird's nest, and also one of the gals who wore a flower pot hat. They put me right in the front row!' Ever since then, the flower pot hat has been her trademark.

When Alabama born and raised Pellegrini was 14 years old, she visited the Tennessee State Fair to help her brother in law pass out potato chip samples. 'Some little people came down the walkway and asked if I'd like to join up with their midget show. I said no!' But at the same time the teenager didn't know she was going to be a little person. 'I had no idea I was going to stay small, but I guess they saw something in me that made them know before I did. They said that I might change my mind and told me they'd keep in touch.'
Soon she got a letter from a Hollywood agent asking if she'd like to be in a motion picture called the Wizard of Oz. 'I was so excited. I would get room and board, transportation and $50 a week for six weeks of filming. We decided I could take the job!' Since she was only fifteen and on a to train to Hollywood all by herself they appointed another little person to be her guardian for the trip.

'Judy Garland was a sweet girl - a typical teenager and she loved the munchkins,' recalls Pellegrini. 'During film breaks, Judy would sit and chat with us on the Yellow Brick Road. We were all so amazed to be working with a star - but she was equally amazed to be working with all of us.' Judy was so excited when she got her own personal dressing room on wheels, she opened the door and invited all 124 munchkins to go through. She gave me an 8 x 10 photo of herself and wrote on it 'To Margaret from your pal Judy.'

Now -in turn - just as Judy Garland autographed a picture for Pellegrini in Hollywood, Margaret Pellegrini does the same in Chesterton , Indiana during autograph sessions at the Wizard of Oz Festival.

After the MGM production, she continued a career including tap, hoola and fan dancing with several performance troupes. Later in Chicago. Pellegrini worked in a nightclub. She met her husband and got married in 1943. Even though she only knew him for six weeks before the wedding, their marriage lasted almost 40 years until he passed away in 1982.

Throughout her life, the beautiful lady of miniature proportions has spent most of her efforts, time and love raising her family, but she is also ever so proud of being a long-time member and having held all the offices within the Fraternal Order of Police Association (FOPA). Now residing near Phoenix, Arizona, Pellegrini recommends that others of small stature join their local chapter of Little People of America (LPA.)

It was in 1987, that Pellegrini found out about Jean Nelson, who conceived and established the Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton Indiana. 'Now, the Duneland Chamber of Commerce's Festival is the largest and oldest event of its kind. It has become a highlight of my year and I've been a part of it ever since I found out about it. It was the start of my Oz family.'

'The Oz story has such meaning,' says Pellegrini. 'If everyone would use their hearts, their minds and their courage, life would be so much better for all of us... and,' she smiles, 'there really IS no place like home.'
DEEDUN Public Relations
Phone 219 929 1038
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