Frank Oz


Frank Oz

Infobox actor
name = Frank Oz


imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = birth date and age|1944|5|25
location = Hereford, England, United Kingdom
birthname = Richard Frank Oznowicz
spouse = Robin Garsen (1979-)
emmyawards = Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming
1974 "Sesame Street"
1976 "Sesame Street"
1979 "Sesame Street"
Outstanding Comedy-Variety or Music Series
1978 "The Muppet Show"

Frank Oz (born May 25, 1944) is a British-born American film director, actor and puppeteer.

Biography

Early life

Oz was born Richard Frank Oznowicz [ [http://movies.ign.com/articles/035/035842p1.html IGN: Interview with Frank Oz (Part 1 of 4) ] ] in Hereford, England, the son of Frances and Isidore Oznowicz, [ [http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800020736/bio Frank Oz Biography - Yahoo! Movies ] ] 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. [ [http://workprint.powweb.com/score/ozlatimes.html Oz L.A. Times Score article- Edward Norton Information Page ] ] [ [http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=7244 JewishJournal.com ] ] [ [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/movies/319064_frankoz09.html "seattlepi.com" "Director Frank Oz takes a new tack with low-budget dark comedy, 'Death at a Funeral'" William Arnold, 6/8/07] ] Oz moved to California, United States with his parents when he was five years old. He attended Oakland City College.

Career

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, Animal, 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. 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, though he has retired from the Muppets. His muppets were taken over by Eric Jacobson. He also worked with the puppets on the movie "Labyrinth", starring David Bowie.

Oz is also well known as the performer of 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". The conversion to CGI was met with some criticism among fans but Oz himself said that was "exactly what [Lucas] should have done." [ [http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=23056 Exclusive: A Chat with Frank Oz ] ] 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 tried to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. [cite news | author = Brian Mciver | title = 30 YEARS AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY.. | publisher = The Daily Record | date = 2007-05-03 | url = http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/editors-choice/2007/05/03/30-years-ago-in-a-galaxy-far-far-away-86908-19036288/]

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.

Other cameos have included playing a surgeon in scenes cut from the theatrical release of "Superman III", [ [http://www.supermancinema.co.uk/special_features/super_innovators/make_up/make_up_animatronics_oz_p3.htm Frank Oz ] ] "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.

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.

Usually helming comedies, 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 (all of which were scored by Miles Goodman). 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).

It was rumored that 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 have 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". [ [http://www.edward-norton.org/score/scoretime.html Time Magazine Score July 16, 2001- Edward Norton Information Page ] ] Oz has, however, said that such claims are exaggerations. [ [http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/reviews.cfm/id/1047/page/marlon_brando_r_i_p_.html Rant Review of MARLON BRANDO R.I.P. only at RuthlessReviews.Com ] ]

References

External links

*
*imdb name|id=0000568|name=Frank Oz


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