G. McConway
August 2, 2023

‘The Wizard of Oz’ Actress Dead at 91

Betty Ann Bruno got her acting start as a munchkin in "The Wizard of Oz."

That, however, hardly defined her life. While she played up the role for virtually her entire life, this was a complex woman that was loved by all.

Sadly, she passed away at the age of 91, reported Fox News.


It is not often you hear the word "shocked" when people talk about the death of a 91-year-old, but that was the case with Bruno. According to her family, she was still "very healthy" when she passed.

Her son, Steve Bruno, stated, "There's a lot I can say about my mom. … Growing up, she was certainly one of the most socially aware and caring … active people that I've certainly ever come across."

At 91, Betty was still offering Hula dance instruction, which is what she was doing when she fell ill. She had just finished up a dance when she collapsed.

Steve continued, "She did this beautiful finale dance. She got a headache. My stepdad drove her to the emergency room. She collapsed in the lobby and died."

"She never had any heart problems … aside from the utter shock of a woman who is … vibrant and, by all appearances, very healthy and everything, the shock of her sudden death. My mom lived a pretty amazing life."

Betty started and finished her acting career in 1939 in the original "The Wizard of Oz." She was only seven years old at the time.

Betty also wrote a book about her experience, called, "The Munchkin Diary: My Personal Yellow Brick Road."

What she was really known for was her investigative journalism, making national headlines for her reporting on the fire in Oakland Hills in 1991, where she lost her home.

Steve explained, "Not only was she an Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist, but she was a human interest reporter. … That was her thing … (She) spent years in community affairs. She ran for city council.

"After our house burned down in '91, she championed the Homeowners Bill of Rights. … She does have these accolades."

Betty is survived by her three sons and husband, Craig, who worked as a KTVU cameraman during his professional career.

Rest in peace, Betty.

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