Oh, folks, we’ve got some sad news to share. Betty Ann Bruno, a once beloved child star turned accomplished reporter, has left us. Deadline reports she was among the last surviving actors who played a Munchkin in the iconic movie “The Wizard of Oz,” and she passed away suddenly on a Sunday in Sonoma, California. Her spouse confirmed the heartbreaking news on Facebook, describing how she collapsed after experiencing an abrupt, splitting headache, followed by a massive chest pain.
Who Was Betty Ann Bruno?
Craig, Betty Ann’s devoted husband, expressed his devastation, saying they were together for a whopping 46 years. Can you imagine the bond they shared, dear readers? It’s truly heart-wrenching. Born Betty Ann Ka’ihilani on a sunny October 1st, 1931, in Wahiawa, Hawaii, young Betty Ann made her way to Los Angeles and ventured into the glimmering world of acting. She burst onto the silver screen in the 1937 film “The Hurricane” and, just a year later, scored a coveted role as one of the twelve lucky children chosen to portray Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz.” Oh, the memories she must have cherished from that experience!
In 2018, the world mourned the passing of actor Jerry Maren, who played a Munchkin as well. At that time, it was believed that Betty Ann was the last surviving adult Munchkin, but she quipped to The New York Post that there were still a few young actors left, playfully reminding everyone, “Wait a minute, I’m a Munchkin, and I’m still alive!” That’s the spirit, Betty Ann!
As she grew older, Betty Ann gracefully transitioned into journalism and soared as an investigative reporter at KTVU Channel 2 in San Francisco for over two decades until she retired in 1992. An impressive three Emmy Awards adorned her career as a reporter. And let’s not forget her love for hula dancing, earning her the affectionate nickname “The Hula Lady.” Such a vibrant and versatile soul!
Creating not just news but also joy, Betty Ann founded the Hula Mai dance troupe, spreading the magic of hula with her monthly dance classes. And get this, they even put on free performances at healthcare facilities and hospitals, brightening the lives of those around them. So let us bid farewell to Betty Ann Bruno, a remarkable woman whose life was a kaleidoscope of achievements, from captivating the silver screen as a child star to uncovering truths as an intrepid reporter, and spreading happiness through the mesmerizing art of hula. Her legacy will forever shine in our hearts.