Stevie Lee, a professional wrestler known as Puppet The Psycho Dwarf in the ring, died Wednesday at his home, according to a GoFundMe fundraiser set up to help his family. Lee played himself in Jackass 3D and played a munchkin in Sam Raimi's Oz The Great and Powerful. Lee died "unexpectedly" at age 54.
"He was beloved by many, has many friends that were family, and a countless number of fans that adored him," Jacob Colyer, who organized the GoFundMe page, wrote. "His family needs help to lay him to rest in a peaceful place. Puppet has put smiles on people's faces across the world with his hardcore attitude and lifestyle. He is a legend in the art of Midget Wrestling." Colyer noted that Lee's family needs help to "give him one last curtain call." All proceeds from the fund are going to Lee's brother Jim Richardson for burial costs. So far, almost $2,000 has been raised.
"RIP Stevie Lee aka Puppet the Psycho Dwarf. I’ll never forget the crazy tour of the UK we shared and the fun we all had. Godspeed my friend," wrestler Frankie Kazarian tweeted. Impact Wrestling also offered their condolences to his family, tweeting, "It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Stevie Lee, better known as 'Puppet The Psycho Dwarf' in the early days of TNA. We send our deepest condolences to his friends and family."
Lee was born Stevie Lee Richardson. He started his pro wrestling career in 2002 with the Pay-Per-View series NWA: Total Nonstop Action, reports Deadline. He created the Half-Pint Brawlers organization, which was chronicled in a 2010 Spike TV reality series. Lee took risks to entertain fans. In 2012, he knocked out some of his front teeth and was rushed to an emergency room after an accident during a Virginia show. He told TMZ at the time he overshot a jump, hitting a cement floor face-first instead of a table. He needed reconstructive dental surgery after the mishap.
Lee began appearing in movies and television during the early 1990s, according to his IMDb page. In 2006, he was seen in the direct-to-video American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile and starred in Jackass 3D as himself in 2010. He also appeared as an evil dwarf in a 2014 episode of American Horror Story. In 2019, he starred in Baby Fever The Movie.
The wrestler also courted controversy. In 2017, he told the Delaware State News the Little People of America were trying to stop him from using the word "midget," but he refused. "It’s a marketing tool for me," he explained at the time. "Nobody is coming out to see little people wrestling. There’s no shame to the word ‘midget.’ It came from the early days of the circus. You know exactly what you’re getting."
Lee also said he dreamed to become a respected actor like Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage, but he still considered himself a success. "I’ve been all over the world — Europe, Belize," he said. "I’ve done movies and worked with the World Wrestling All-Stars and started my own successful business. I consider myself very lucky."