Frank Oz

Biography

Date of Birth 25 May 1944, Hereford, England, UK Birth Name Richard Frank Oznowicz Height 6' 2" (1.88 m) Frank Oz (born May 25, 1944) is an American film director, actor and puppeteer. Oz was born Richard Frank Oznowicz in Hereford, England to Frances and Isidore Oznowicz, both of whom were puppeteers. His parents were refugees from the Holocaust who moved to England after fighting the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades. Oz's Dutch/Polish father was Jewish and his Flemish mother was a lapsed Catholic. Oz moved to California, United States with his parents when he was five years old. He attended Oakland City College. Oz is known for his work as a puppeteer (including voices), performing with Jim Henson's Muppets. His characters have included Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Sam the Eagle on The Muppet Show, and Grover, Cookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street, among many others. The Muppet character Fozzie Bear is actually not named after Frank Oz, as is widely believed. Fozzie is named after Muppet builder Faz Fazakas, who invented the device which enabled Fozzie to wiggle his ears. In addition to performing a variety of characters, Oz has been one of the primary collaborators responsible for the development of the Muppets over the last 30 years. Oz has performed as a Muppeteer in over 75 movies, video releases, and TV specials, as well as countless other public appearances, episodes of Sesame Street, and other Jim Henson series. His puppetry work spans from 1963 to the present day. He also worked with the puppets on the movie Labyrinth, starring David Bowie. Possibly Oz's most famous character is the diminutive Jedi Master Yoda from George Lucas' Star Wars series. Oz performed the voice and puppet for Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, and provided the voice of the CGI Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Oz had a great deal of creative input on the character, and was himself responsible for creating the character's trademark style of reversed grammar. George Lucas was so impressed by Oz's performance as Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back that he spent thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign to try to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. As an actor, Oz appeared in 1980 as a corrections officer in The Blues Brothers movie, directed by John Landis. He also appeared in later Landis movies An American Werewolf in London, Spies Like Us, Trading Places and Innocent Blood. In 1998, Oz portrayed a warden in Blues Brothers 2000. And while it wasn't for Landis, in 2001 he had a minor part in the Pixar film Monsters, Inc. as Randall's scare assistant Fungus. Oz began his behind-the-camera work when he co-directed the fantasy film The Dark Crystal with long-time collaborator Jim Henson. The film featured the most advanced puppets ever created for a movie. Oz further employed those skills in directing 1986's Little Shop Of Horrors. The musical film starred Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene, as well as Steve Martin, Bill Murray, John Candy, Christopher Guest, and a 15-foot-tall talking plant (voiced by Levi Stubbs) which at times required up to 40 puppeteers to operate. Oz went on to direct Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 1988, starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, What About Bob? in 1991, starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss, and HouseSitter in 1992. Later films include The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), In & Out (1997), Bowfinger (1999), The Score (2001), the 2004 re-make of The Stepford Wives, and Death at a Funeral (2007). Oz has made cameos in several films directed by John Landis, including The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places, Spies Like Us, Innocent Blood, Blues Brothers 2000 and had his name announced over a loudspeaker in Into the Night. Other cameos have included playing a surgeon in scenes cut from the theatrical release of Superman III, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan and several other Jim Henson-related films that didn't involve just his puppeteering. During the filming of The Score, Marlon Brando refused to take direction from Oz, causing Robert De Niro to act as an intermediary to relay instructions. Brando is reported to called Oz "Miss Piggy", and to have once said to Oz, "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could stick your hand up my ass and make me do whatever you want". Oz was considered to direct 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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Person Photo

Birth Name

Frank Richard Oznowicz

Birth Place

Hereford, Reino Unido

Birth Date

5/25/1944
Known For
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The Dark Crystal

Aughra - A Keeper Of Secrets / Chamberlain / Podling / Additional Characters

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

Miss Piggy / Fozzie / Animal / Bert / Cookie Monster / Ocean Breeze Soap Board Member / Sam the Eagle (voice)

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The Great Muppet Caper

Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam the Eagle / Gramps / Swedish Chef (voice)

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Blues Brothers 2000

Warden

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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

Chuck (voice)

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Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird

Cookie Monster / Bert / Grover (voice)

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A Muppet Family Christmas

Fozzie Bear / Animal / Miss Piggy / Bert / Grover / Cookie Monster / Sam the Eagle (voice)

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I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

Himself

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Sesame Street: Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Bert / Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

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Sesame Street - Big Bird in China

Bert / Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

Starring In
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Inside Out 2

Subconscious Guard Dave (voice)

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Jim Henson: Idea Man

Self

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Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street

Self (archive footage)

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Yoda (voice)

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Knives Out

Alan Stevens

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yoda (voice)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yoda (voice) (uncredited)

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Inside Out

Subconscious Guard Dave (voice)

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I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story

Himself

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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

Himself (archive footage)

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John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together

Fozzie Bear / Miss Piggy / Animal / Sam the Eagle (voice)

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Elmo's Potty Time

Grover (voice)

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A Sesame Street Christmas Carol

Bert (voice) (archive footage)

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Zathura

Robot (voice)

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Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Yoda (voice)

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Count It Higher

Muppet Performer (archive footage)

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The Story Of Star Wars

Himself - 'Yoda'

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Muppets Magic From the Ed Sullivan Show!

Himself (archive footage)

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Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Yoda (voice)

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From Puppets to Pixels: Digital Characters in 'Episode II'

Self

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Elmo's World: Springtime Fun!

Bert / ... (31 episodes, 1969-2000)

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Monsters, Inc.

Fungus (voice)

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The Beginning: Making 'Episode I'

Self

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Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

Yoda (voice)

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Muppets from Space

Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam the Eagle / Swedish Chef (hands) (voice)

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The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

Bert/Grover/Cookie Monster (voice)

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Blues Brothers 2000

Warden

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Muppet Treasure Island

Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Sam the Eagle/Animal/George (voice) (as Miss Piggy)

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Sesame Street - Elmo Saves Christmas

Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

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Muppet Classic Theater

Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear (Emperor) (voice)

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Holiday Greetings from 'The Ed Sullivan Show'

Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear (voice)

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The Muppet Christmas Carol

Emily Crachit (Miss Piggy)/Fozziewig (Fozzie Bear)/Headmaster of Junior High Graduates (Sam the Eagle)/Animal/George the Janitor/Horse and Carrige Driver/Vegetable Peddler (uncredited) (voice)

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Innocent Blood

Pathologist

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Oscar's Greatest Moments

Miss Piggy (archive footage)

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A Muppet Family Christmas

Fozzie Bear / Animal / Miss Piggy / Bert / Grover / Cookie Monster / Sam the Eagle (voice)

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Labyrinth

The Wiseman

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Spies Like Us

Test Monitor

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Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird

Cookie Monster / Bert / Grover (voice)

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The Muppets Take Manhattan

Miss Piggy / Fozzie / Animal / Bert / Cookie Monster / Ocean Breeze Soap Board Member / Sam the Eagle (voice)

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Trading Places

Corrupt Cop

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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Yoda (voice)

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John Denver & The Muppets: Rocky Mountain Holiday

Miss Piggy (voice)

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Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi

Self / Yoda

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Sesame Street - Big Bird in China

Bert / Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

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From 'Star Wars' to 'Jedi': The Making of a Saga

Self / Yoda

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Don't Eat the Pictures: Sesame Street at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Bert / Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

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The Dark Crystal

Aughra - A Keeper Of Secrets / Chamberlain / Podling / Additional Characters

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Return of the Ewok

Yoda (voice)

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An American Werewolf In London

Mr. Collins / Miss Piggy

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The Great Muppet Caper

Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam the Eagle / Gramps / Swedish Chef (voice)

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Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back: Deleted Scenes

Yoda (voice)

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SP FX: Special Effects - The Empire Strikes Back

Self

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The Blues Brothers

Corrections Officer

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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Yoda (voice)

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The Muppet Movie

Miss Piggy/Fozzie Bear/Animal/Sam the Eagle/Doc Hopper's Men/Marvin Suggs (uncredited)/Swedish Chef (hands) (uncredited)/Motorcycle Guy (uncredited) (voice)

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Sesame Street: Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Bert / Cookie Monster / Grover (voice)

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Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

Chuck (voice)

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