Meredythe Glass, the Mercer Island resident who was a green lady in “The Wizard of Oz” and who worked as an extra in a number of films starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, died Sept. 1 from an arterial blockage. She was 98.
Mrs. Glass graduated from high school at the tail end of the Great Depression and was looking for work; luckily, her mother’s first cousin was the producer of “The Wizard of Oz” and offered her a job as an extra. She quickly fell in love with Hollywood, working as an extra in classic films, including “Waterloo Bridge,” “Babes on Broadway,” “Strike up the Band” and “Babes in Arms.”
“I keep telling everybody: I was just an extra!” Mrs. Glass said in an interview with The Seattle Times earlier this year. “That’s the lowest thing you can get in Hollywood and that’s my claim to fame.”
Her son, Lee Glass, of Mercer Island, said: “I think she was a natural-born actress, and so probably fit in well” in Hollywood.
Mrs. Glass is remembered for her spirit, independence and happiness. She was a volunteer at the Mercer Island Thrift Shop and was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
“She was quite a role model: legally blinded by macular degeneration, profoundly hard of hearing, still taking municipal buses by herself even when needing to make transfers to get to her ophthalmologist appointments, all the while accepting her many difficulties with grace and good cheer, and never feeling sorry for herself,” said Lee Glass.
“Falling down, getting concussed, breaking her nose, bruising herself profoundly, taking a taxi home from the ER because she did not want to disturb her family, and a week later back volunteering at the thrift shop,” he said. “She was truly an amazing woman.”
Mrs. Glass touched many people, whether through her work in “The Wizard of Oz” or her presence in her retirement community.
“She was just a joy. Oh my gosh, will I miss her,” said Roxanne Helleren, resident life director at Covenant Living at the Shores, the retirement community where Mrs. Glass lived for 15 years.
Mrs. Glass found great joy in people contacting her to get her autograph as one of the last living cast members in “Wizard of Oz,” Helleren said.
One time, Mrs. Glass showed Helleren a letter from people in England asking for her autograph. “I said: ‘How did people in England find you?’” Helleren recalled. “She said: ‘You have heard of the internet, haven’t you?’”
“She totally loved it but she didn’t want to act like she loved it,” Helleren said with a laugh. “She was the way someone wants to live — doing what you love.”
Mrs. Glass was preceded in death by her husband of 41 years, Leonard Glass. In addition to her son, Lee Glass, she is survived by her daughter, Lynda Tammone, of Issaquah, three grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Details of a service, to be held Oct. 14, are being worked out.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mercer Island Youth & Family Services or to a charity of the giver’s choice.