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Lawsuit Over Estate of Deceased Munchkin, Mickey Carroll, Slated for Trial Next Week

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Mickey Carroll at his home in Bel-Nor in 2007. | Jennifer Silverberg
Five years ago this week, Wizard of Oz actor Mickey Carroll passed away in his sleep at the age of 89. Yet the fight over his estate had already begun with Carroll's niece, Janet Finocchiaro, alleging before his death that the ex-Munchkin's caretaker, Linda Dodge, physically abused Carroll and duped him out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the wake of Carroll's passing, a photo of a purportedly abused Carroll -- sporting a bruise to his forehead -- even ran in the National Enquirer.

Next week the lawsuit Finocchiaro and other family members brought against Dodge is finally slated for trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court.

See also:Munchkin's Former Caretaker Sued for Theft

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Among the allegations in the lawsuit are claims that Dodge and others took advantage of Carroll's late-in-life dementia to have him sign over to them as much as $500,000 in assets. Dodge moved Carroll and a disabled nephew whom he had cared for -- Frank Parenti -- from his home in Bel-Nor to her Crestwood home just months before Carroll's death.

Dodge's relationship with Carroll dates back to at least 2007 when she launched a public campaign to get the former Munchkin a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. But the effort failed when several claims in Carroll's bio could not be confirmed -- among them that he starred in the Spanky and Our Gang series. No one doubts, however, that the four-foot-seven actor (born Michael Finocchiaro) appeared as a Munchkin in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz. Which Munchkin, however, is a somewhat up for debate.

See also: Munchkin Mickey Carroll's Caretaker Sues National Enquirer for Defamation

In an '07 interview with Riverfront Times, Carroll said he was the Munchkin who sang Dorthy's praises after her house crushed the Wicked Witch of the East: "We thank you very sweetly, for doing it so neatly." And he said it was his voiceover that famously told Dorthy to "follow the yellow brick road."

Janet Finocchiaro's attorney tells Daily RFT that the trial will likely last three days. Check back with Daily RFT next week for results from the courtroom.

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5 comments
AngelDais
AngelDais

NOT GUILTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LINDA DODGE WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AngelDais
AngelDais

That Michael guy just wants to get interviewed, he doesn't know shit about what's going on... just fyi.

Jim Tsapelas
Jim Tsapelas

He & my father were friends. I knew him when I was a boy.

Vickie Jozsa Wilmeth
Vickie Jozsa Wilmeth

He was very sweet. Got to meet him at Webster University showing of The Wizard of Oz. Could have chatted for hours with him :)

Michael J Keller
Michael J Keller

He was most likely correct - he played prominent parts. HOWEVER... I was a private duty nurse to a couple 'Munchkins' that appeared uncredited in the movie, and from firsthand experience, I can tell you that most, if not all of the uncredited Munchkins were - stating it mildly - 'unhappy' about being uncredited! Actually, until the day they died, they were quite pissed about the whole deal. If you ever wanted to see just how pissed off a 'little person' can become, just in passing, mention the SLIGHTEST reference to "The Wizard of Oz". You'd swear they could simultaneously blow smoke rings out of their nose and ears without ever touching smoking materials. (An easy to tell the difference is the Wizard of Oz memorabilia behind Mr. Carroll in this pic. With the exception of one TINY newspaper clipping of the iconic scene of Dorothy skipping down The Yellow Brick Road, I took care of two 'Munchkins', and there wasn't a single speck of Wizard of Oz memorabilia in their homes! In fact, as a private duty nurse, before our first day of employment, their families took each health care staff member outside the patient's home to have a private conversation. The family member / friend divulged the information that this particular patient was, in fact, an uncredited 'munchkin', and that it is never to be brought up in conversation, or the rest of your shift might be very unenjoyable! Mr. Carroll's ashes, God rest his soul are entombed in the Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum, just across the street from Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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