WIZARD Of Oz actor and journalist Betty Ann Bruno has died aged 91.
The Emmy-winning reporter, who played a Munchkin in the 1939 blockbuster, had been dancing on Sunday before suffering from a sudden headache and later a heart attack.
Local media reported that Bruno was dancing at Sonoma Women's Club in California when she developed a "sudden, splitting headache".
Her longtime husband, Craig Scheiner, drove her to hospital where she had "a heart attack and collapsed on the floor" before reaching the front desk, he said.
Scheiner added: "She had no major health issues. Her heart just wore out. She died of old age."
The Hawaiian-born actress won three Emmy Awards during her two decades spent at KTVU after transitioning from acting to journalism.
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She was one of the last surviving actors from the Wizard Of Oz and was recently honoured at the Oz Stravaganza in New York.
Born on October 1, 1931, in Wahiawa, Hawaii, she would later spend her childhood in Hollywood.
A young Bruno first had an uncredited role in John Ford 1937 film Hurricane before she was selected with other children to play a Munchkin in Victor Fleming's classic.
The Californian went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1953 and work as a secretary at the CIA, where she met her first husband Russel Bruno.
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They moved to Berkeley, where Bruno began her career in broadcast journalism and had three sons.
KTVU hired her in 1971 to write for the 10 O'clock News Program – a place she would call home for 20 years and where she would meet her second husband.
Scheiner worked as a cameraman, producer and editor for the station.
Bruno won her three Emmys for breaking news, a news-feature series, and an investigative series before retiring from TV in 1992.
In 2006, she opened Hula Mai – a place where she taught students how to Hulu dance.
Her husband said she had been very active until her death, regularly dancing, teaching, and spending time with friends,
Bruno published a memoir in 2020 entitled: The Munchkin Diary: My Personal Yellow Brick Road.
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