5. Michael J. Anderson
How you know him: Most recently appeared as the ringleader of HBO's Carnivale, but is perhaps best known for playing the iconic dancing midget in David Lynch's Twin Peaks.
Anderson has not worked as regularly nor as prominently as some of the others on this list, but his backwards-talking dancing dwarf from Twin Peaks is one of the most memorable characters in TV history. He played things straight in Carnivale and delivered a layered performance that made you forget he was a little person.
Most shamefully exploitative moment: His most recent gig was appearing in two episodes of that shitty witch show Charmed as a leprechaun.
Shining moment: Appeared in Lynch's 2001 mindbender Mulholland Drive as a normal-sized man through the use of full-body prosthetics. This might also be considered his low point depending on how you look at things.
4. Verne Troyer
How you know him: Played Dr. Evil's homunculus Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies.
Verne Troyer has translated his success as Dr. Evil's sidekick into a career as the most recognizable little person working in the movie industry these days. Though he is best known for his appearances in Austin Powers he has also appeared in a number of commercials and low-budget films. He also participated in VH1's c-list celebrity horror show The Surreal Life. Troyer gained infamy for being combative, sulking and, ultimately, becoming intoxicated and urinating on the carpet.
The ultimate shame: Will appear in the upcoming Uwe Boll masterpiece Postal alongside veteran actor Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka.
Shining moment: Married 6'2" tall yoga instructor and model Genevieve Gallen. They dated for three years and divorced less than three months after being married.
3. Eric Lynch AKA Eric the Midget
How you know him: Fans of The Howard Stern Show on Sirius know him as Eric the Midget, the perpetually ungrateful and wheelchair-bound monster "the size of a Butterball Turkey".
Eric Lynch is an unhappy member of Howard Stern's Wack Pack, a menagerie of miscreants and genetic mistakes composed of callers and unusual guests to the Howard Stern radio show. Dubbed "Eric the Midget" for obvious reasons, Lynch prefers to be called "Eric the Actor" and will often leave venomous messages on the Stern show voice mail referring to various staff members as "faggots" and "jackasses".
Lynch makes the list and ranks so high because he is an uncommonly angry and possibly even evil midget. He is surly even when being offered gifts and compensation. His only apparent skill is that he knows everything about American Idol. He obsesses over various Stern-related Internet message boards.
Eric the made man: Lynch most recently gained infamy for ordering a hit of some sort against a caller to the Howard Stern radio show. The caller claimed to have attended high school with Lynch and stated that a number of disruptive concessions, such as the construction of ramps and elevators, were made by the school for the tiny terror. Lynch contacted a person with supposed mob ties and instructed the man to track down the caller. The message ended with Lynch intoning ominously, "You know what to do. You know what to do." No word on whether or not the midget FBI has been notified of his wee mob activities.
Shining moment: In a fit of bad judgment by Stern staffers, Lynch was given the phone number of American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee and called her so many times that she refused to appear on the radio show. Imagine the answering machine scene from Swingers with a raspy hostile midget trying to get his rambling messages in before the beep.
2. Herve Villechaize
How you know him: The swarthy miniature major domo of Fantasy Island.
Villechaize appeared in a number of film and TV roles, but is best remembered for his Fantasy Island catchphrase, "De plane, boss! De plane!", which began nearly every episode of the show. He also appeared as an evil henchman in the James Bond movie The Man With the Golden Gun.
Villechaize looked and behaved like a miniature date rapist in most of his roles, cooing over women five times his size and practically dripping with hair shellac. This lustful exuberance carried over into his private life and he is rumored to have been nearly fired from Fantasy Island for harassing women on the set. He was later fired for reportedly unrelated reasons. Villechaize also spoke with a noticeable accent (Villechaize was French), affirming the widely held belief that midgets and dwarfs are the spawn of hell.
Miniature downfall: Plagued by poor health later in life, Villechaize became increasingly mentally unstable and once threatened his manager at gunpoint. He shot himself in 1993 and succumbed soon after to his injuries.
Shining moment: Was an advocate for abused women and children in the 1980s and was so passionate about the subject that he would go to crime scenes to comfort victims. Nothing soothes shattered nerves quite like a tiny hand patting you on the shoulder.
1. Warwick Davis
How you know him: Davis is Hollywood's go-to-guy for little people roles, but he is probably best known for his appearance as the titular character in the film Willow.
Warwick Davis received his big break from George Lucas, patron saint of the vertically challenged, when he was given the roll of Wicket in Return of the Jedi. After a few years of hiding behind a fur suit Davis landed the lead role of heroic dwarf Willow in the movie of the same name. That movie proved that Davis contains almost three times the volume of acting as larger costar Val Kilmer. He has gone on to a stellar career that would be the envy of most normal-sized actors.
Most shamefully exploitative moment: Appearing as the leprechaun in 2003's Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. See also: all other Leprechaun movies.
Shining moment: Appearing opposite Ricky Gervais in the HBO series Extras. Davis parodied the roles offered to dwarfs. Davis also physically attacked Ricky Gervais for hitting on his wife, a fight that Davis lost.
Whether you think of them when you're peeing or you check under the bed for them before you go to sleep at night, there is no denying the contribution that these small folks have made to our lives. Take a moment to say a little prayer for them all in the hopes that they might one day go to whatever heaven is set aside for their miniature race. Perhaps some sort of H.O. scale celestial kingdom.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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