Frank Oz Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (22)  | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (3)

Born in Hereford, England, UK
Birth NameFrank Richard Oznowicz
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Frank Richard Oznowicz was born in Hereford, England to puppeteers Frances and Isidore Oznowicz. His family moved to Montana in 1951, eventually settling in Oakland, California. As a teenager, he worked as an apprentice puppeteer at Children's Fairyland amusement park. He is one of the primary puppeteers responsible for the development of Jim Henson's Sesame Street (1969) and The Muppet Show (1976) as well as over 75 other Muppet productions. George Lucas originally contacted Henson to play the part of Yoda in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), but he recommended Oz for the part instead. He developed the character's trademark syntax, returning to voice and puppet the Jedi Master in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999).

Oz voiced the computer-generated Yoda in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), supporting the transition of the character's rendering to digital. In 2011, the Blu-Ray edition of The Phantom Menace replaced the puppet Yoda with CGI to match the other prequel films.

He began a career of behind-the-camera puppet and live action filmmaking by co-directing The Dark Crystal (1982) with Henson. He went on to direct The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), What About Bob? (1991), The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), Bowfinger (1999), The Score (2001), The Stepford Wives (2004) and Death at a Funeral (2007).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Travis Brainerd

Family (2)

Spouse Victoria Labalme (17 July 2011 - present)
Robin Oz (12 December 1979 - 2005)  (divorced)  (4 children)
Parents Oznowicz, Frances
Oznowicz, Isidore

Trade Mark (2)

His films tend to be comedies
Performer of such puppets as Yoda, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Grover, Animal

Trivia (22)

Has appeared in many of director John Landis' films as a good luck charm of sorts. He did not appear in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and Landis had plenty of bad luck during that film. In Trading Places (1983), he plays a cop taking an inventory of Dan Aykroyd's personal items, ironically reprising his role from The Blues Brothers (1980), where he took an inventory of the other Blues Brother's personal items, John Belushi, as Belushi was being freed from jail. He later went on to play the warden in Blues Brothers 2000.
Often works with Steve Martin (The Muppet Movie (1979), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), HouseSitter (1992), Bowfinger (1999)).
The middle three letters of his car's license plate are "PYK", for Piggy, Yoda and Kermit. It is believed to be a coincidence, because it is a standard DMV-issued license plate, not a vanity plate.
Is a recipient of the prestigious Connor Award, given by the brothers of the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity based out of Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He is also an honourary brother of the fraternity.
The Muppet Show (1976) character "Fozzie Bear" is actually not named after Frank Oz, as is widely believed. "Fozzie Bear" is named after The Muppet Show (1976) builder Faz Fazakas.
Though Yoda only appears in two episodes of the original Star Wars trilogy, Oz managed to make three movies with Carrie Fisher by appearing with her in The Blues Brothers (1980), the same year that Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was released. Then, in addition to working with Princess Leia's on-screen mother, Natalie Portman in all three prequels, he also directed Carrie Fisher's real-life mother, Debbie Reynolds, in In & Out (1997).
Attended Jim Henson's funeral.
Has directed two of his Star Wars castmates in otherwise unrelated films: Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine/Darth Sidious) appeared in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) and Terence Stamp (Supreme Chancellor Valorum) appeared in Bowfinger (1999).
Was replaced by John Lithgow in the radio adaptations of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Lithgow also appeared in the Broadway musical based on Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).
One of his first performing duties for The Muppet Show (1976) was performing Rowlf's right hand on The Jimmy Dean Show (1963).
1961: Met Jim Henson in Asilomar, California.
His father, Isidore Oznowicz, was of Polish Jewish background. His mother, Frances (Ghevaert), was of Belgian (Flemish) descent.
Collaborated five times with composer Miles Goodman: Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), What About Bob? (1991), HouseSitter (1992) and The Indian in the Cupboard (1995). However, Goodman's score to The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) became unused and replaced by a score composed by Randy Edelman.
Directed one Oscar nominated performance: Joan Cusack in In & Out (1997).
No longer signs autographs, due to many of his autographs winding up on auction sites.
Refuses to let anyone else try on the Yoda puppet from the "Star Wars" series. Oz has said he's extraordinarily protective of the character, and takes his role as Yoda, a cultural icon, very seriously.
He performed as Yoda in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and acted in 'The Blues Brothers', and 'American Werewolf in London.'.
In 1963 he was studying journalism in California when he met Jim Henson who asked him to travel to New York for a 6 month try out with the Muppets. He's been associated with them ever since, bringing life to Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and many others.
He has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Muppet Movie (1979), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Blues Brothers (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
He was nineteen years old when he began working with Jim Henson.

Personal Quotes (8)

If you look at a lot of the pieces on The Muppet Show (1976) that came from Jim, there was a tremendous sweetness about them, and that's unique to Jim. Jim was never wimpy. He had a strength to his sweetness... that was great.
[on Jim Henson]: He envisioned a world where bears could tell jokes, chickens could sing, pigs could be stars and they all could ride bicycles.
[on The Muppet Show (1976) head writer, Jerry Juhl]: He was the person responsible really for the heart of the Muppets. He just knew the characters better than anybody else. He was brilliant because he could be funny but not nasty. He always saw the affection between the characters. Nobody else could do that kind of writing... He was THE Muppet writer.
[About the fame of Miss Piggy]: I wouldn't like to be that famous, I value my privacy. Mind you, Miss Piggy enjoys every moment of it. If it were not for me, she would spend all her time in the limelight.
(On Touch of Evil) I think it opened up my view of film-that there's so much more that could be done. Actually, by breaking so many rules, he allowed other people to say, "Hey, I can maybe think of some stuff, too!" He just opened up the possibilities more for me. That's what he did.
[on Little Shop of Horrors (1986)] Howard Ashman gave me the best advice of anybody ever, regarding directing this kind of a movie. He said, "Frank, this is supposed to be stupid." And it was the best advice. He said, "My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote this."
[on improvisation in "Death on a Funeral"] Are you kidding? Every movie I do - from Brando and DeNiro to "Funeral" - is improvised. I've worked with some great scripts, including "Funeral," but improvisation really brings people together. I have to be flexible enough to bring life to a movie in that way.
I'm not making art, I think that's too highfalutin'. I'm just doing my best. Someone else can tell me whether it's art or not. In the meantime, I just want everyone else to enjoy it.

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