A picture of Pellegrini as one of the 'Sleepy Head Munchkins"
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
It was filmed in the late 1930s, but Margaret Pellegrini remembers the time she acted in The Wizard of Oz as if it were yesterday.
"It's wonderful to know that I had part of it, that I was in it," said the 89-year-old Pellegrini, who lives at the Beatitudes Campus in central Phoenix.
She is just one of three actors who played one of the munchkins still alive.
Pellegrini said she was just 13 years old when a scout spotted her at a state fair. He took down her name and address, and then two years later she received an important piece of mail.
"(My father) said, 'You got your letter from Hollywood,' and I jumped up and down. Oh, I was so excited," recalled Pellegrini.
"I got a train ticket to head to Hollywood, and I was going to be in The Wizard of Oz, which I never heard. I didn't know anything about it," she continued.
Pellegrini was cast as one of the sleepyhead munchkins, and though she was just 16 at the time, she still remembers her every line.
"Wake up you sleepyhead. Rub your eyes. Get out of bed. Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead," Pellegrini sang.
"I'm not a singer!" she continued, explaining that the songs were dubbed over.
Pellegrini was paid $50 a week. It was 10 times what her father made, so she sent money home to Alabama.
"I used to send it home to him so they would live comfortable," she said.
However, she mentioned Toto, Dorothy's dog had a higher salary.
"What gets me is Toto the dog," Pellegrini said.
"What about Toto?" asked CBS 5's Greg Argos.
"Well he got paid more than I did. He got $125 a week, and I only got $50. So he got paid more than I did. But look where he's at today. He's pushing daises," she joked.
Despite her small part, Pellegrini said she is honored to be part of a movie that is such an influential part of our culture. It has spun off dozens of similar movies and books over the years and even a Broadway show.
Pellegrini said she also appreciated how the movie influenced the public's perception of little people in a positive light.
"It showed that we were not only little, but we could do what big people did," she explained.
Friday, Disney's adaptation of the movie, OZ: The Great and Powerful is released. Pellegrini says she is not sure whether she will go to the movie. Regardless, she says it will not stack up to the original.
"The Wizard of Oz, they'll never make another one like it!" exclaimed Pellegrini.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:50 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:50:15 GMT
A 23-year-old firefighter is in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Officials told CBS 5 he is in extremely critical condition after being crushed between two fire vehicles. The firefighter wasMore >
Officials told CBS 5 that a 23-year-old firefighter is in extremely critical condition at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix after being crushed between two fire vehicles.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:01 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:01:02 GMT
Crash victim Juan Rodriguez with his fiance Amanda Lujan.
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road. "The fourth of July, Juan proposed,More >
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles. A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:06:03 GMT
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands ofMore >
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands of criminals.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Tuesday, May 14 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-15 00:25:14 GMT
Amy's Baking Company was featured on Kitchen Nightmares season finale, and let's just say things didn't go well. For the first time in the show's history it's host, Gordon Ramsay walked away. The showMore >
Scottsdale restaurant owners made a big splash on national television for being impossible to work with, and now it appears they've taken their bad attitudes to the internet. Or have they?More >
Thursday, May 16 2013 8:01 PM EDT2013-05-17 00:01:44 GMT
Rozenna Luna (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
A mother has been taken into police custody after police say she tried to give away her 6-month-old daughter at a Phoenix gas station. Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Department said investigatorsMore >
Police said Rozenna Luna, 36, had been drinking and was on meth when she asked strangers if they wanted a "free child" as she attempted to give the baby girl away at a Phoenix gas station.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 11:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:49:34 GMT
Everyone wants the right to make their own choices when it comes to their healthcare, but a group of valley midwives says that isn't happening thanks to a new set of guidelines that will likely take effectMore >
Everyone wants the right to make their own choices when it comes to their healthcare, but a group of valley midwives says that isn't happening thanks to a new set of guidelines that will likely take effect next month. More >