Frank Oz biography
Real Name: Frank Oznowicz
Date of birth: May 25 1944
Town of birth: Herford, England, UK
Jim Henson first spotted Frank as a teenager performing at a puppeteers' convention in California in 1961. Jim wanted to hire him on the spot, but Frank had to finish high school first. It was 1963 when he finally joined the Henson team for what was supposed to be a summer job. It turned into a lifetime career.
Frank Oz also worked on the final two movies of the Star Wars Trilogy: The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. In those movies, Frank controlled the puppet Yoda, and he also supplied his voice. Frank is scheduled to controll Yoda in the upcoming prequels, and he also will still supply the voice.
Frank also directed some of the Energizer Bunny ads in which the Supervolt corporation hires movie villain assassins to kill the bunny (1995-1996)
These days, Frank is on the Board of Directors of The Jim Henson Company and remains a principal Muppet performer. His most famous characters include Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam the Eagle, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Bert. Outside of his work with the Muppets, Frank is recognized as a top feature film director. Titles to his credit include Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, What About Bob?, The Indian in the Cupboard, and In and Out.
It must be tough on your ego to be best known as Miss Piggy. Then again, Frank Oz's uncanny ability to convincingly bring to life a jealous-as-hell, karate-choppin', potato-chip-eatin', glamorous pig just proves his talent. Besides Miss Piggy, Oz also embodied such diverse creations as Fozzy Bear, Cookie Monster and 900-year-old Jedi Master Yoda. These memorable puppeteer performances initially brought Oz fame in the late '70s when he worked with Jim Henson on "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show" and with George Lucas on the Star Wars movies. Quite a unique career launch for a Hollywood director. The multi-talented Oz broke into directing as co-director with Henson on the puppet fantasy adventure The Dark Crystal. Also operating puppets in front of the camera, Oz firmly established the juggling act that would become his career. He remained loyal to the Muppets, co-writing and solo directing The Muppets Take Manhattan, but then moved on to live-action comedies. His first, Little Shop of Horrors, a hilarious remake of the off-Broadway hit, began a frequent collaboration with funny man Steve Martin. Oz's last film marked a return to kid stuff as the director of The Indian in the Cupboard, the story of a young boy who essentially plays God when he's given an old cupboard that brings his toys to life. The movie did poorly at the box office, likely because its subject matter made it too heavy for kids but too childish for adults. Despite his success as a director, Oz still finds time for puppets. Recently, he performed in Muppet Treasure Island, and he's currently reviving Yoda for Lucas' Star Wars prequels. And of course, Miss Piggy's demanding more attention.
Frank Oz Filmography:
Miscellaneous crew filmography
Notable TV guest appearances
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