Short in Stature but Large in Screen Presence: Notable Actors with Dwarfism

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Movies featuring actors with dwarfism aren’t uncommon, but very rarely does anyone know the names of those actors.  To make matters murkier, said actors are often in extensive makeup or a full-body costume of some type.  Still, many of these actors are often pivotal to making everything in a movie come together.  Here’s a look at some notable actors with dwarfism and some of the more memorable roles they’ve played.

Warwick Davis

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Out of any actor with dwarfism, Warwick Davis has probably had the largest variety of roles.  He was cast as the lead in Willow, but he’s also played Filius Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies, Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and the Leprechaun in those awesome Leprechaun movies.  Who else seen da Leprechaun say “Yeahhhhhh!”  Christ, that never gets old.

Tony Cox

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Tony Cox has found a nice niche in comedy, playing roles in Me, Myself & Irene as well as the very funny, very underrated Bad Santa:

“You got some lip on you, midget.”

“These lips were on your wife’s pussy last night.”

The first time I ever saw Tony Cox on screen, though, was in an old children’s series called “Faerie Tale Theatre.”  In the story of Snow White, Tony played the role of a dwarf named Bubba.  He was funny then, and he’s funny now.

Verne Troyer

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Verne Troyer is probably the most recognizable actor with dwarfism, thanks in part to his role as Mini-Me in the two Austin Powers sequels.  Verne has also acted in Bubble Boy, The Love Guru, and the first Harry Potter movie.  I like Verne Troyer a lot – instead of feeling sorry for himself, he goes out on the town, gets wasted, and gets laid like any male celebrity should.  The dude even had a sex tape.  Play on, playa.

Zelda Rubenstein

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Like Tony Cox, Zelda played a role in an episode of Faerie Tale Theatre, but she’s best known as the scary little lady who tells Carol Anne not to go into the light in Poltergeist.  Zelda has played roles in literally dozens of television shows and movies, and recently played a buddy of the Antichrist in Southland Tales.

Debbie Lee Carrington

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Hmmm…Debbie Lee actually gives Warwick Davis a run for his money when it comes to role variety.  She played an Emperor Penguin in Batman Returns, a topless duck in Howard the Duck, and The Tiny Avenger to Damon Wayans’ Handiman on “In Living Color.”  Debbie Lee was also on an episode of Seinfeld and even had a role in Captain EO, that weird Michael Jackson Star-Wars-meets-pedophilia thing at EPCOT.  I vaguely remember Debbie Lee as a prostitute in Total Recall, but like everyone else, I was fixated on the chick with three breasts.

Peter Dinklage

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Aside from his role as Trumpkin in the Chronic-what?!-cles of Narnia movies, Peter Dinklage seems to get roles that don’t involve him playing a non-human, which, naturally, makes him more recognizable.  Dinklage played a childrens’ book author in Elf, has appeared on the poorly-written, overrated Entourage (maybe Sub Zero disagrees with me on this, but seriously, it’s a show written by and starring talentless hacks; Piven is the only saving grace, and even he’s become a caricature of himself), and played Marlowe Sawyer on Nip/Tuck.  I have a feeling Dinklage will have no trouble getting substantive roles in the future – he’s a terrific actor.

Michael Dunn

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Though he hasn’t been in anything since his death in 1973, I had to include Michael Dunn.  Dunn is considered a pioneer of sorts for actors with dwarfism, as he turned down typecasting for more serious, dramatic roles.  According to his IMDB page, Dunn had an IQ of 178!  Although, who knows if that’s true – advertisements for IQ tests on ESPN.com claim that the average Steelers fan’s IQ is 141.  Nothing against Steelers fans or the fine city of Pittsburgh, but No. Friggin. Way.  What isn’t disputable, though, is the inspiration Dunn provided to a whole generation of actors with dwarfism.

Phil Fondacaro

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With apologies to Herve Villechaize (Tattoo on Fantasy Island), Michael J. Anderson (Carnivale), and Nelson de la Rosa (Pedro Martinez’s “mascot” during the 2004 MLB playoffs), Phil Fondacaro – who is married to Verne Troyer’s manager – is the last actor featured in this article due to his impressive body of work.  He played a warrior in Willow, had roles on CSI and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (I would so bang MJH, by the way – how attainable is she, right?  Slightly less than Kirsten Dunst, I’d say.), and an Ewok in Retrun of the Jedi.  Most impressive, though, is his role as a club patron in Evil Bong.  Yes, Evil Bong.  Snooches!


7 Comments

  1. the Yellow Dart April 12, 2009
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  3. Madison August 20, 2009
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