By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
Linda Dodge argues that many of Carroll's deals in vaudeville were struck with a handshake, and the few contracts he did sign have been lost to time. Besides, Dodge contends, Carroll's role in The Wizard of Oz should suffice.
After his career in vaudeville ended in the 1940s, Carroll took over his family's St. Louis business, making and selling cemetery headstones. He's also used his celebrity status from The Wizard of Oz to raise thousands of dollars for local charities.
"Here's a guy who made a movie that's an American icon, and after years and years he's still in his hometown of St. Louis," says Dodge. "He's had the heart, the courage and the brains to persevere — he meets the Walk of Fame qualifications."
Last month entertainment heavies — including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Roger Ebert, Ted Turner and Hugh Hefner — penned letters to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, urging it to give Carroll and his fellow Munchkins a star. Chicago theater-owner Ted Bulthaup put up $25,000 to back the Munchkin's nomination for the Hollywood star.
"He doesn't have a star in St. Louis?" asks an incredulous Bulthaup. "Well, I know St. Louis has produced some fine people, but years from now people's grandchildren are going to know the Munchkins. Few characters are that universal."
In September Edwards will mail out the list of this year's nominees to the committee. It remains unclear whether Carroll will make the cut, and the former Munchkin worries he may not live to see the day the committee finally grants him the honor.
"I was born here and I'll die here," says Carroll. "I love St. Louis. But gee whiz: What's it take for someone to get a star?" What does an old Munchkin have to do to earn a place on the St. Louis Walk of Fame?