Born in Hereford, England, Frank Oz (born Frank Oznowicz) graduated from California's Oakland City College during 1962 and joined the humans behind Jim Henson's fledgling Muppet group as a puppeteer the following year. He was part of the first-season cast of Saturday Night Live as the Mighty Favag and appeared in The Blues Brothers with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. After The Muppet Show went on the air in 1976, Oz became vice president of the Henson organization, and was responsible for the portrayals of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal, among other characters, earning three Emmy Awards for his work on the show. He later served as a producer for The Great Muppet Caper (1980), directed by Henson, with whom he co-directed The Dark Crystal a year later. He later directed The Muppets Take Manhattan in 1984. Two years later, with Henson in the director's chair, Oz was one of the voices in Labyrinth. Moving outside of Henson's orbit, Oz directed the screen version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), What About Bob? (1991), and the Kevin Kline vehicle In & Out (1997). He also served as the voice of Yoda in five Star Wars movies: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. He helmed the 1999 showbiz satire Bowfinger, and two years later directed Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando in the crime drama The Score. He continued to voice various Muppet characters in a number of projects, but also maintained his directorial career with the comedies The Stepford Wives, and the original Death at a Funeral.
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by Bruce Eder biography