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A Conversation with Frank Oz at the Museum of the Moving Image

Frank OzBeloved Muppet performer and acclaimed director Frank Oz spent two hours talking about his career with Craig Shemin at the Museum of the Moving Image on Sunday, October 23rd. The special event, A Conversation with Frank Oz, was sold out well in advance and was even made available to ticketed guests via a live video feed in an additional theater at the museum.

The coversation was wide-ranging, and covered both his work with Jim Henson and the many films he has gone on to direct, from Little Shop of Horrors to The Score. Near the end of the program, by way of demonstrating Muppet-style performance, Oz called a young boy who had asked him to sign his Fozzie Bear doll up to the stage and used him as an assistant, explaining how both rod-hand and live-hand puppets are performed and how the performers work to monitors to create their performances.

Oz repeatedly made a point of sharing credit for his work and stressing how vital the contributions of the other Muppet performers and the creative team, including designers, puppet builders, and writers, was to the Muppets' success. From the stage, Oz also introduced his wife, Victoria Labalme.  The two were married in July of this year.

Oz was born Frank Richard Oznowicz on May 25, 1944 in Hereford, England.  His parents, Frances and Isidore Oznowicz, were also puppeteers. During World War II, Oz's Belgian mother moved to Hereford, escaping from the Blitz, while his Dutch father fought the Nazis with the Dutch Brigades. Oz's father was of Jewish heritage and his mother was a lapsed Roman Catholic. Oz moved to Oakland, California with his parents when he was five years old. In 1963, at age 19, he moved to New York to begin work with Jim Henson and the Muppets.

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