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Top 10 Influential Little People

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Thank heavens for small blessings. Whether they’re acting in our favorite TV series, promoting a cause or simply making us laugh, these are the people of smaller stature who’ve impacted our lives the most. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 influential Little People. For this list, we’ve tried to choose actors diagnosed with dwarfism who are active advocates for Little People’s issues, and have ranked them based on their influence and impact. While actors like Gary Coleman, Emmanuel Lewis and Michael J. Anderson were diminutive enough to be classified as Little People, they did not have dwarfism. Special thanks to Rafael Ruiz for suggesting the idea on our YouTube channel!
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Transcript

Top 10 Influential Little People


Thank heavens for small blessings. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most influential little people.

For this list, we’ve tried to choose actors diagnosed with dwarfism who are active advocates for Little People’s issues, and have ranked them based on their influence and impact. While actors like Gary Coleman, Emmanuel Lewis and Michael J. Anderson were diminutive enough to be classified as Little People, they did not have dwarfism.

#10 – Kenny Baker (Height: 3’8”)

He may not have the same recognition as others on this list, but he’s got legions of fans across the galaxy – whether they know it or not. Baker’s the man who brought the beloved, beeping R2D2 to life throughout the entire “Star Wars” saga. Even though we never saw his face, Baker infused his character with a unique personality, and made a place for himself in cinema history.

#9 – Hervé Villechaize (Height: 3’11”)

Villechaize’s role as Tattoo on “Fantasy Island” made sure he was beloved by millions; so much so that the show barely lasted a year after he was fired due to a contract dispute. Unlike most Little People, he demanded to be called a “midget,” and this put him at odds with other Little People celebrities; however, he was still a beloved part of pop culture until his 1993 suicide.

#8 – Zelda Rubinstein (Height: 4’3”)

Her voice was one-in-a-million. Through her role as the unusual medium in the “Poltergeist” franchise, Rubinstein helped raise the profile of Little People in Hollywood. While it’s unclear whether she actually had dwarfism, few were as active as Rubinstein as an advocate for Little People’s issues, and she was also an early AIDS activist. As Steven Spielberg once said of her, “good things come in small packages.”

#7 – Danny Woodburn (Height: 4’)

Probably most famous as Kramer’s volatile actor buddy Mickey Abbott on “Seinfeld,” Woodburn has long been known as a talented character actor, stand-up comedian and advocate for Little People’s issues. Fighting for integrity in all his projects, Woodburn has pushed against stereotyping and the use of the slanderous m-word. Woodburn now picks-and-chooses the parts he plays, so he’s able to ensure his characters are well-rounded and thoughtful.

#6 – David Rappaport (Height: 3’11”)

He made it his life’s mission to change public perception about Little People – and he succeeded by becoming one of the most accomplished and famous dwarf actors ever, with roles in “Time Bandits,” TV’s “The Wizard,” and even “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” However, after his suicide, that role was recast with an actor of average height, proving Rappaport had been hired for his talent, not his size.

#5 – Verne Troyer (Height: 2’8”)

As one of the world’s shortest men, Troyer began his career as a stuntman. From there he became one of the most scene-stealing Little People in recent memory. Unlike some of his Little People actor contemporaries, Troyer often plays into the stereotypes of his condition, as long as it’s in good fun. Though he’s struggled through scandal and addiction, he remains one of the most prevalent Little People celebrities.

#4 – Matthew Roloff (Height: 4’2”)

If awareness is the first step to acceptance, then Roloff and his family have been vital to society’s opinion of Little People. On top of being motivational speakers and hugely successful entrepreneurs, the charismatic Roloff family and their show “Little People, Big World” introduced the everyday concerns of people of smaller stature to a wider audience, and succeeded in becoming one of the few functional families on reality TV.

#3 – Warwick Davis (Height: 3’6”)

As part of some of the most popular film franchises ever, Davis is at-home in fantasy worlds. With roles like the valiant “Willow,” he’s helped shape the media’s portrayal of Little people, and even founded Willow Talent Management to work with actors under five-feet and taller than seven-feet. He’s also convened Little People UK to offer support to that population. And, he always keeps his sense of humor.

#2 – Peter Dinklage (Height: 4’5”)

Refusing to play elves or leprechauns, Dinklage spent years toiling to make ends meet. That hard work paid off when he broke with “The Station Agent” – a critically-acclaimed film about his life, not his size. Possessing leading man qualities, Dinklage brought awareness to the issues facing Little People with his newfound fame as one of the most memorable TV characters in recent memory – little person or not.

#1 – Billy Barty (Height: 3’9”)

His larger-than-life personality meant he always stood out. Not only did Barty gain fame for wisecracking, he was also a prolific and hardworking performer at a time when Little People were usually relegated to stereotypical roles. Using the recognition he earned, Barty became one of the first advocates for people of his stature, founding the Little People of America in the late-‘50s and leaving a lasting and meaningful legacy.

Do you agree with our list? Who do you think are the most influential little people? For more top 10s about your favorite stars, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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