Famous Immigrant of the Week - Frank Oz

Richard Frank Oznowicz was born on May 25, 1944, in Hereford, England.  When  he was six years old, he moved with his parents and brother to Oakland, California,Frank Oz and shortly thereafter, he started going by the name Frank Oz.

From his page on biography.com:

Oz was, by his own admission, a shy child. As the son of amateur puppeteers, he gravitated toward puppets as an easy way to express himself. By the time Oz was 18, he'd already spent several years playing around and working with puppets. But he had no anticipation they'd be a part of his future. Instead, Oz had dreams of becoming a journalist.

But, while Oz was still in high school, he had a chance meeting with 23-year-old Jim Henson at a puppeteering conference. "He was this quiet, shy guy who did these absolutely amazing puppets that were totally brand new and fresh, that I had never been seen before," Oz would later recall. Henson appreciated Oz's work as well. Two years later, as Oz struggled through his first year of college, Henson asked the young puppeteer to join his Muppets team.

Oz went on to perform in Sesame Street as well and is known for his famous characters, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal.  Oz is also famously known for playing Yoda in the Star Wars movies.  He also performed (not as a puppet) in films such as The Blues Brothers and Trading Places.

Here's a clip of Oz playing Yoda in one of my favorite scenes from Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back:

Comments (2)

Great posting. Thanks for the memories. This is yet another example of the talent and contributions America is losing by not making access not just safer, but easier as well for those seeking to come here for a better life.

Interesting. I bet his choice of nom de plume was taken from L. Frank Baum.

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