There's a good chance of spotting someone of short stature while out celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend, as local bars such as Giligin's in Scottsdale (home to Chuey the Rock 'n' Roll Midget) have a tendency to hire little people to don leprechaun costumes to enliven their parties.
Such roles for those with dwarfism is nothing new, as little people have been used -- and often exploited -- for entertainment value as a sideshow or human oddity for centuries, dating to the days of P.T. Barnum's freak fests and as far back as medieval times.
Many little people believe such things (and the term "midget" itself) are grossly offensive, while others not only have embraced their size but have used it to springboard into success in the entertainment industry, like many of the 11 people making up out list of the world's most famous midgets.
11. Jason "Wee Man" Acuña Height: 4-foot-1 Best known for his hilarious exploits with the other daredevils of MTV's Jackass crew, what the 39-year-old may lack in height (due to his suffering from achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism) he more than makes up for it by the sheer enormity of his chutzpah of some of his stunts. He's a lifelong skateboarder (and currently hosts the extreme skating show 54321 on Fox Sports Network) and has also starred in such cult flicks as Death to the Supermodels, Pee Stains and Other Disasters, and Elf-Man.
10. General Tom Thumb Height: 3-foot-4 Born Charles Sherwood Stratton in 1836, this entertainer became one of the legendary P.T. Barnum's most famous attractions at his touring showcase of the bizarre after the circus promoter discovered the wee lad at the age 5 and taught him how to dance, sing, and perform impersonations. He toured the world with Barnum's show, entertained European royalty, and made headlines when he married fellow dwarf Lavinia Warren in 1863.
9. Matthew Roloff Height: 4-foot-2 For the past seven years, this 51-year-old has served as one of the stars (along with his wife and fellow dwarf Amy) of the hit TLC reality show Little People, Big World, which documents the trials and tribulations of his family and their normal- size children on their Portland farm. Roloff, who suffers from the diastrophic dysplasia form of dwarfism, spent most of his childhood in the hospital but managed to turn his condition into stardom.
8. Deep Roy Height: 4-foot-4 Fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will instantly recognize this East Indian actor as the dude who played the role of the countless Oompa Loompa in the employ of eccentric confectioner Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's 2005 remake of the children's classic. That's not the only memorable role that Deep Roy has performed during his 37-year career in showbiz, however, as he's starred as weird characters and costumed freaks in more than three dozen flicks, including Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, and The Neverending Story.
7. Kenny Baker Height: 3-foot-8 You may not be completely familiar with his face, but this English-born actor has been an integral part of some of the biggest blockbusters in cinematic history, namely the Star Wars saga. In all six of George Lucas' epic space operas, Baker helped play the role of R2-D2, bringing the legendary astromech droid's movements to life.
6. Jyoti Amge Height: 2-foot-1 inches The Guinness Book of World Records currently lists this 19-year-old Nagpur, India, native as the shortest living woman on the planet. Measuring approximately 25 inches tall, due to her affliction with an ultra-rare form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, Amge isn't letting her diminuative stature hold her back, as she's currently attending college and hopes to star in Bollywood movies at some point.
5. Leopold Kahn Height: 2-foot-1 Another of Barnum's midget attractions in the late 19th century was this famous gentleman and entertainer, who performed under the stage names Admiral Dot. He joined the traveling circus as a living oddity in 1870, typically adorned in a tiny mockery of an admiral's uniform. He also had quite the singing voice and contributed his vocal stylings as a member of the Locke & Davis Royal Lilliputian Opera Company, a troupe composed entirely of midgets.
4. Warwick Davis Height: 3-foot-6 Geeks of the world are familiar with this 43-year-old British character actor. After all, he played furry Ewok Wicket W. Warrick in Return of the Jedi, pint-size wizard Willow in the 1988 flick of the same name, Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies, and -- most famously -- the titular evil Irish sprite in the so-bad-it's-good schlock horror film Leprechaun and its numerous sequels.
3. Hervé Villechaize Height: 3-foot-11 The life story of actor Hervé Villechaize is a tale filled with triumph and tragedy. He was born in Nazi-occupied France in 1943, and his surgeon stepfather attempted to treat him for his proportionate dwarfism through several grueling procedures. He later was the target of bullying during his youth.
Villechaize later became adept at painting and ultimately moved to America and entered show business. His two highest-profile roles were as a henchman in the James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun and as Tattoo in the ABC drama Fantasy Island (where he could be seen famously shouting "Da plane! Da plane!" at the start of every episode). He reportedly was a bear to work with on set and was fired from the program due to increasing salary demands. A lifetime of depression over his condition resulted in Villechaize's suicide in 1993.
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2. Peter Dinklage Height: 4-foot-5 When this 43-year-old won the Emmy in 2011 for best supporting actor in a drama series for his work on HBO's Game of Thrones, it confirmed what everybody pretty much already knew: Peter Dinklage might be less than five feet tall, but he's a monster of a thespian. He provided unforgettable turns in The Station Agent (for which he was nominated for numerous awards) and Elf (where he beat up Will Ferrell), as well as The Last Rites of Ransom Pride and A Little Bit of Heaven. After you finish digesting the latest season of Thrones this spring, be sure to check out his acting chops in the newest X-Men summer blockbuster.
1. Verne Troyer Height: 2-foot-8 After Mike Myers as Dr. Evil spoke the words "I shall call him Mini-Me" in 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the world was introduced to Verne Troyer, one of the most recognized midgets ever. After shooting to stardom after his debut in the execrable comedy sequel, Troyer became a media sensation, movie star, and notorious party animal whose wild side has been chronicled in such reality shows as The Surreal Life and Celebrity Big Brother. He's also dated models three times his size and earned even more infamy when a sex tape with him and then-girlfriend Ranae Shrider was leaked online in 2008. We recommend avoiding the temptation to watch it, as some things can never be unseen.