×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Olive Brasno Wayne, 80

Midget actress turned down role in 'Oz'

Olive Brasno Wayne, a midget actress who worked with a number of top entertainment luminaries during the 1930s, died Jan. 25 of heart failure at a hospital in Lakeland, Fla. She was 80.

Born in Old Bridge, N.J., she performed with her brothers Richard and George (also midgets) in vaudeville and motion pictures beginning in the early 1930s.

In a popular act called “Buster Shaver, Olive and George,” she and her brother George Brasno performed in theaters across the country.

The brother and sister act also appeared with Shirley Temple in “Little Miss Broadway” and co-starred in the films “The Mighty Barnum” and “Charlie Chan at the Circus.” She also appeared in an “Our Gang” short titled “Shrimps for a Day.”

Wayne had been offered a role in “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939 but turned down the offer. “They offered $75 a week,” said Wayne, “but in vaudeville, my brothers and I were making $150 a week. We didn’t know the movie would be so big.”

She also danced with Donald O’Connor at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas during the 1950s and 1960s. O’Connor told Daily Variety, “She was one of the finest dancers I ever worked with. “Working with her on the stage I forgot she was a little person, she suddenly became six feet tall. I’ll miss her.”

Her husband of 37 years, Gus Wayne, also a midget actor who did appear in “The Wizard of Oz,” predeceased her by two days (see accompanying obituary).

More Legit

  • Bryan Cranston First Time in Variety

    Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His 'Erasable Mind'

    Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this [...]

  • Ink Play West End London

    Wary Theater Rivalry Between London and New York Gives Way to a Boom in Crossovers

    Give or take a little tectonic shift, the distance between London and New York still stands at 3,465 miles. Arguably, though, the two theater capitals have never been closer. It’s not just the nine productions playing in duplicate in both locations — believed to be the most ever — with three more expected in the [...]

  • Alex Brightman Beetlejuice Broadway

    How Alex Brightman Brought a Pansexual Beetlejuice to Life on Broadway

    Alex Brightman gives the deadliest performance on Broadway — in a good way — in “Beetlejuice.” The big-budget musical adaptation of the 1988 film directed by Tim Burton has scored eight Tony nominations, including best actor. To play the frisky role, Brightman (“School of Rock”) dons Beetlejuice’s striped suit and an assortment of colorful wigs [...]

  • Santino Fontana Tootsie Broadway Illustration

    'Tootsie' Star Santino Fontana on the Challenges of His Tony-Nominated Dual Role

    Santino Fontana is doing double duty on Broadway this year. The “Tootsie” star scored his second Tony Award nomination this month for his hilarious portrayal of struggling actor Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels, the female persona that Dorsey assumes to win a role in a play. The musical, based on the 1982 comedy starring Dustin [...]

  • Dear Evan Hansen

    Broadway Cast Albums Find Fresh Footing With Hip New Sounds, Viral Outreach

    Mixtapes. YouTube videos. Dedicated playlists. Ancillary products. Viral marketing. Epic chart stays. These are things you expect to hear from a record label discussing Cardi B or Beyoncé. Instead, this is the new world of a very old staple, the Broadway original cast recording. Robust stats tell the tale: Atlantic’s “Hamilton” album beat the record [...]

  • Ali Stroker Oklahoma

    Ali Stroker on 'Oklahoma!': 'This Show Doesn’t Follow the Rules and That Is So Who I Am'

    Ali Stroker is no stranger to rewriting history. With her 2015 Broadway debut in “Spring Awakening,” she became the first actor in a wheelchair to perform on the Great White Way. Three years later, she’s back onstage in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” as Ado Annie, the flirtatious local who splits her affections between a resident [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content