The past has been difficult for little people. I’m sure it still is as the entertainment industry is unforgiving. At least it used to be one of the industries that had regular employment for little people as money could be made from exploiting them. You couldn’t say that the entertainment industry has been good for little people historically, but maybe it’s been better than other industries, which treated them as outcasts. At least, nowadays, there are roles available in films, TV, and reality series for little people. In fact, as well as being some of the most talented character actors, little people are some of the most famous faces in the world right now. There are many little people that are celebrity names and are well known in the industry, and long may that continue.
It’s not just the entertainment industry; there are successful little people across the board. Our focus, however, will be on the entertainment industry, but the list does include sports stars, too.
We’ll mainly look at some of the most famous little people that you may remember from your favorite films or TV shows. They may even be currently starring in some of your favorite TV shows or movie franchises. You’re probably racking your brain to think of the 15 most famous little people. Don’t worry yourself, put your feet up, sit back, and enjoy this list that’ll make you go, “Oh yeah, I forgot about…” multiple times.
15. Verne Troyer
Verne Troyer is most famous for playing the role of Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series of films. In fact, I’m guessing the name of that character popped into your head straight away when you saw his pictures. Actually, Mini-Me didn’t appear until the second Austin Powers film The Spy Who Shagged Me, but the character made such an impact that he’s now one of the most memorable aspects of the film. No one can forget the fight sequence between Verne Troyer and Mike Myers in the film. He’d had a long filmography before Austin Powers, though — mainly in family films. Since Austin Powers, he has done many adverts and appeared on reality TV. He’s also one of the smallest famous little people at 2 feet, 8 inches. This hasn’t been an issue for Verne, though, as he’s managed to accumulate a net worth estimated to be around $10 million.
14. Bridget “The Midget” Powers
With a filmography longer than any other little person’s, Bridget Powers will be a name you’ve likely heard even if you’ve never seen her. You may know her by her moniker “Bridget the Midget.” Her actual name is Cheryl Murphy, and she was born in October 1980. She’s a famous hardcore p–n actress who made her first film in 1999. She left the adult industry not long after as she was sick of being exploited and set up her own video-on-demand service but not before she managed to star in over 70 adult movies. She also appeared in a few mainstream Hollywood films, namely Wristcutters and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. In recent years, her work has led to more mainstream appearances, such as in the TV series The League. Murphy is also the lead singer of the Bridget the Midget Band
13. Warwick Davis
Warwick Davis started out in the industry as a child actor in the most famous film franchise there has ever been, capturing the hearts of the audience as Wicket, the Ewok in Return of the Jedi. He has since gone on to take the lead, and titular roles, in the 1998 film Willow and the Leprechaun series of films. He’s also one of the few actors to play two characters in the Harry Potter series as he played both Professor Flitwick and Griphook. In recent years, he has fronted the BBC sitcom Life’s Too Short, which was written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, as well as released his autobiography, Size Matters Not, and appeared on multiple panel shows. His net worth is estimated to be around $8 million. He can often be seen on the signing circuit at Comic Cons.
12. Matthew Roloff
Matthew Roloff, more widely known as Matt Roloff, is one of the world’s biggest little people reality stars. He also played an Ewok but is best known for the reality show Little People, Big World. The show aired on the TLC channel starting in 2005 and revolves around Roloff’s home life. The series depicted his family’s everyday life on their farm in Oregon and undertook an extensive filming schedule, which was supposed to involve a 7-month shoot but expanded to a 320-days-a-year shoot. Roloff has four children who were all part of the show. He has also written two books, the most successful of these being Against Tall Odds: Being a David in a Goliath World. He has been well known for being a motivational speaker since the success of the reality show. Bad news struck last year when, unfortunately, he and his wife Amy got divorced.
11. Peter Dinklage
Currently, Peter Dinklage may be the most well known little person in the world due to his role as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones. His breakout role came in the film The Station Agent released in 2003. That year, he also had a small role in the Will Ferrell festive hit, Elf. Since 2011, he has portrayed one of the most popular characters in Game of Thrones as well as appeared in the X-Men franchise, portraying the villain Bolivar Trask. He has multiple Emmy nominations, winning in 2011 and 2015 for Outstanding Supporting actor in a drama. This led to him becoming one of the highest-paid actors on television with a reported $1.1 million per episode. With many high-profile film roles coming up, including a role in The Avengers: Infinity War, and the ongoing success of Game of Thrones, it seems Peter Dinklage is only going to become even more well known.
10. Terra Jole
Reality star Terra Jole is a recent addition to the most famous little people list. She was born in 1980, but it was in 2014 when she rose to prominence when the show she starred in, Little Women: LA, first aired. There have been spin-offs of the show titled Terra’s Little Family. If you don’t know her from these, then she should be recognizable for appearing on Dancing with the Stars or for her film roles in Jackass 3D or The Hungover Games. She writes her own songs and has her own website, minimama.com, which is full of advice for little mothers. She also has loads of songs for children on her YouTube channel. Terra is also an executive producer on her reality shows, making her one of the most powerful little people in the TV industry. In 2015, she married her co-star, Joe Gnoffo.
9. Jordan Prentice
The ‘cultiest’ of all cult films, Howard the Duck, had one of the most famous cult actors perform the role of Howard: Jordan Prentice. If it’s a name you’re not familiar with, it’ll be a face that you most definitely are. You’d have seen him in The Bloodhound Gang video The Bad Touch or in his roles in the American Pie spin-off movies. Most famously, he appeared in the film In Bruges, in which he stole every scene he was in as Jimmy, who is referred to as a ‘racist midget’ by the characters in the film. This foul-mouthed role saw the character insult nearly every race, gender, and creed in an unforgettable tour de force performance. Many roles in film and TV followed, including those in Mirror Mirror and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
8. Deep Roy
Born in Nairobi in 1957, Deep Roy began his career appearing with performances in Avengers and Blake 7 and a creepy role in the Doctor Who story The Talons of Weng-Chiang. He’s probably best known for playing all of the Oompa-Loompas in Tim Burton‘s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. Tim Burton wanted to create a stunning visual by having all the Oompa-Loompas look the same, so he just used one distinctive actor. It was a role which required training in many different areas to pull off all the different personalities of the Oompa-Loompas. Thus began Roy’s working relationship with Burton. He has appeared in many other of his films, including Big Fish, and he even had a voice role in Corpse Bride. On TV, Roy has done many recent roles including those in The X-Files and a memorable, funny, and sweary role in Eastbound & Down. He has most recently appeared playing the role of Keenser in all installments of the Star Trek cinematic franchise.
7. Jason Acuna
If you don’t know the name Jason Acuna, you may be more familiar with his nickname, The Wee Man. He was born in Italy and is mostly famous for his exploits on Jackass. Yes, he’s the little person who kicks himself in the head for fun, amongst other antics. He has appeared in multiple Jackass films, including Jackass and Jackass 3D. Recently, he appeared in his first family film called Elf-Man. He played the title character and was also an executive producer on the film. He’s also the host of the Fox Sports News skating show 54321, which is ironic considering that on Jackass, he’s known to skate while dressed as an Oompa-Loompa. Acuna is a professional skateboarder and stuntman and has an estimated net worth of $12 million.
6. Ellie Simmonds
The only sports star on this list and youngest little person on the list is also one of the few to be given an OBE. Ellie Simmons is a British Paralympian swimmer. In 2008, she came to the attention of the world when she won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. In 2012, at the London Olympics, she won two more golds and also set a world record in the 400m freestyle. At her third Olympics in Rio in 2016, she won another gold medal and set another world record, this time in the 200m individual medley. All this success made her a well-known personality with multiple appearances in talk shows and panel shows, and she has a line of kids’ books called Ellie’s Magical Bakery. She is tipped to be one of the highest-earning Paralympians in the world.
5. Tony Cox
Tony Cox was born in 1958 in New York and is known primarily for his comedic roles in big hit films. Like several actors of his generation, his work in films began with him playing a role in a Star Wars movie, in particular, as an Ewok in Return of the Jedi. His turn towards comedy began with roles in Spaceballs and Beetlejuice. He also had a role in the film Willow. It was the turn of the century when he became a more prominent figure with a role in Me, Myself and Irene and an unforgettable turn in Bad Santa, which he reprised last year for the sequel, upping the ante of his foul-mouthed criminal character dressed up as a Christmas elf. He is also known for appearing in the series of spoof films titled Date Movie, Epic Movie and Disaster Movie.
4. Michael J Anderson
Michael J. Anderson is the little person that will haunt your nightmares more than any other on this list but only because of his disturbing acting roles. The most memorable of these would be as The Man from Another Place in the nineties TV series Twin Peaks. Directed by David Lynch, Red Room featured Anderson as the backwards dancing and talking character that creeped everyone out with his strange dance. He worked with Lynch many times after this, appearing in Industrial Symphony Number 1, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and Mulholland Drive. He also played one of the lead roles in HBO’s series Carnivale, which lasted two seasons and deserved a wider audience. He has appeared in many shows including The X-Files and has done voice work for Adventure Time. When asked about his involvement in the new Twin Peaks revival, Michael declined to comment.
3. Danny Woodburn
Most famous for his role in Seinfeld, Danny Woodburn has had an illustrious career in entertainment. He was a stand-up comedian for 20 years, performing nationwide in the US. He only appeared in 7 episodes of Seinfeld but made a huge and memorable impact as Mickey Abbott. It led to other roles in Lois & Clark, Charmed, One Tree Hill, and more before he turned his attention to the big screen. He has appeared in many films, which include The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Death to Smoochy, Mirror Mirror, and most recently, he performed motion capture work for the role of Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Woodburn, an advocate for little people issues, performs a role on the Disability Committee of the Screen Actors Guild.
2. Jerry Maren
There’s a myth that being a little person can shorten the length of one’s life. Whilst with some conditions this may be the case, Jerry Maren, whose real name is Gerard Marenghi, has dispelled this myth. He’s a 97-year-old American actor, and the only surviving Munchkin and member of the Lollipop Guild from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. In his long career, he appeared in many more films and TV shows, including Planet of the Apes, Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, and Seinfeld. His autobiography is titled Short and Sweet: The Life and Times of a Lollipop Munchkin. In 2013, he joined the privileged few who had a handprint and footprint ceremony outside Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles.
1. Danny DeVito
The richest and most well known little person is still Danny DeVito. His first film role was in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, where he reprised the role he performed in the Broadway production. Rising to prominence as the angry taxi dispatcher in the American sitcom Taxi, his star continued to rise. His filmography is packed with roles in hit films, including his portrayal of the Penguin in Batman Returns, as well as Big Fish, Man on the Moon, Throw Momma From the Train, Twins, and so many more. He’s also produced many films in Hollywood being part of the Oscar-winning production team behind Erin Brockovich. He can currently be seen starring in the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and making his own short horror films for The Blood Factory. He’s so rich and famous he can do whatever the hell he likes, which gives you enough evidence to know not to underestimate little people. All 15 names on this list prove that.
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