Few have achieved & attained- with their talent than what, what Frank Oz, azathoth! While the 'name' alone may not ring a bell with some folks (who've been under a rock!!).. The/his characters would, ring said 'bell'- with LOUD and PROUD enthusiasm!! Since the Brother's Warner, (Sam to be exact), brought 'sound in film' to us- the need for vo (voice over) actors have existed..
.....& THANK GOODNESS FoSHOnuff!!
Since the beginnings of 'sound in film', a GREAT voice over actor- is worth it's weight in GOLD! Just ask LEGEND Don 'Thunderthroat' LaFontaine.. (Well?? ... You CAN'T, mmbut if you COULD ask him??).. The voice is OFTEN JUST AS IMPOPO (important).. as look.. I mean- can you imagine Miss Piggy, FOZZIE(!!), GROVER (!!), Coooukie 'fkn' MONSTER!!, YODA!!??... In a SILENT FILM??
It's not purrrdy.. I can tell you that!! Rather hard, eh.. But that's, in essence, what it'd be, doc.. Without the distinctive voice of FRANK OZ!!
Just as talented a director - as he is a voice actor... He has pitted a few gems under his belt.. In 1986, he directed the now LEGENDARY 'Little Shop of Horrors', (FEED meah Sey-mooah), 'What About Bob?'👍, & 2001's 'The Score', starring legend Robert DeNiro. I, myself, wrote to Frank in 2002- requesting an autographed photo of Yoda.. He replied, 'I'm clean outta Yoda pics- instead- here's one of THIS ugly dude!!' Haha.. Let us assume "the PROPER", muppet position, fosho 😉, & with that? His story...
Frank Oz was born, Frank Richard Oznowicz, on May 24, 1944, in Hereford, England, U.K. BOTH of his parents were puppeteers.. 'HOW COOL is THAT??' When Frank was just 7- his family & he moved to Montana under that 'Big BLUchi sky!' He & his family lived several places there.. Before moving to Oakland, Cali- settling there. From a very early age.. Frank took a robust interest in his parents puppeteering.
He took an apprentice puppeteering job with Children's Fairyland, which is overseen by the Oakland Rec Dept.. He later described his experience early puppeteering as 'a cool way to express himself- & please his parents.' He also said, 'it was safe to hide behind puppets because at that age I wanted to be a journalist.'
At the age of 17- Frank attended the 'Puppeteers of America', festival where he met (IMO) the KING of puppeteering, fellow legend Jim Henson. Frank describes him as 'this real shy guy- shyer than I- but who did these ABSOLUTELY, fucking, AMAZING, puppets that were totally brand new & fresh, & had NEVER been done before!' The 'MUPPETS' had been born..
At the age of 19- Frank joined a fastly, growing, evolving, variety, puppet show.. Quaintly called, 'Muppets Inc.' He was the 'right' hand & voice for the dog, 'Rowlf the Dog.' That gig led to another, doing the same on 'The Jimmy Dean (sausage king) Show.' Jimmy would intro Frank, kinda mumbling the last part of his last name. Frank used it- & began using simply, 'OZ'! He 'QUICKLY" began making a notable name for himself. Not just for his puppetry skill- but for creative input. Whether on 'The Muppets', or commercial ads- there were a 'PLETHORA!'
He began doubling as a 'duo' with fellow legend Jim Henson. This meant 'Henson providing all the voices'- whilst Oz alternated the puppetry. Something Oz 'LOATHED!' He recalls.. 'I HATED IT!! I HATED IT TOTALLY!!! Jim KNEW that I hated it! I think he relished it! The La Choy dragon was a SHIT! I was totally blind in there.. I always hated being inside those characters, but I was the main performer & that was my job.' To quote Christ.. "Those who endure until the end, shall be saved." & Frank was.. He went stage right, around the corner, & landed on Sesame Street. As the theme song says.. 'Can ya tell me how to get? How to get to Sesame Streeeeet??' Frank was sent an invite with a map there.. & there.. He thrived. It was a WONDERFUL new adventure for Frank.. Through his creative input.. Born were- 'Bert', 'Grover', & 'Cookie Monster.' In the early years of Sesame Street, Frank was in 'near' every sketch!! Once his 'streak' was well established on the Street?? Legend George Lucas phoned Jim Henson about the loan of some creative talent to a new film he was working on called 'Star Wars.' Tremendously BUZZY (busy), Jim suggested Lucas phone Frank.. He did.. History is in the books!! Frank immediately began formulating what was to be.. 'YODA!'
Indeeeed.. OF COURSE!... INDEED!!
Frank boasts a VERY robust, healthy, swath of-a-resume of puppeteerism from 1963 to da present. For a complete list of his 44-ft schlong & strong resume- clickity claq right che'ah!!
He lives here, in a condo in Manhattan.. No entry past here... His efforts are combined into a star!
Frank's work is almost unbelievable when looking longshot at it!! He's definitely proved he is LEGENDARY material alongside ANY of those to come outta Hollywood, EVER!! Long will he remain as well! I offer a BIG 'OL THANKS to FRANK, as a fan, and as a lover of entertainment.. Frank is here to stay and his talent?? Endless!!
Remember Audrey II?? The 15-foot tall talking plant who proved, 'The Lion don't sleep tonight and if you pull his tail, he RAWWRS..(you say dat ain't fair, ya say dat right, gew know what I say? UP YOWRS!' Haha.. Sorry!! I hadda!! Anyhoo - Audrey 2 was a muppet- that sometimes required up to 40 puppeteers!! COOL STUFF!
Notable & coolio too are his appearances in 'John Landis' films- (either by name or in person.) For as an example.. In 'Into the Night', & 'Coming to America'... There are announcements on a PA system on the films for a 'Mr. Frank Oznowicz'.. Haha! GREAT stuff!
I included some of his stuff in a mini-film I did called 'Attitude of Gratitude.'