May 25: Puppet Master
Puppeteer Frank Oz (Richard Frank Oznowicz) was born in Great Britain on this date in 1944. His parents were refugees from the Holocaust (his father was Jewish) who had fought the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades. A key collaborator for over thirty years with Jim Henson’s Muppets, Oz created Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear and performed on Sesame Street as Bert, Cookie Monster, and Grover, among others. Oz also helped to create the character of Yoda, the Jedi Master with the strange syntax in George Lucas’ Star Wars series. He directed the film version of Little Shop of Horrors, involving a carnivorous plant puppet that required up to 40 puppeteers, and has also directed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In & Out, What About Bob?, and several other movies.
“I was a weird kid. I should’ve been gay because I listened to a lot of Broadway musicals. I don’t know why I’m not gay.” —Frank Oz