Frank Oz, the voice of Miss Piggy, claims he was kicked out by Disney
Frank Oz has one of the most iconic voices in show business. Not only has he played Master Yoda, he’s also responsible for some of the most important characters in Sesame Street and The Muppets. For nearly 40 years, Oz has been the hand that operated Fozzie Bear, Bert, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Miss Piggy.
Oz has not only collaborated alongside Muppet founder Jim Henson, but he’s also directed some of the most revered comedy films of the past 30 years.
Oz gave an interview at the end of August 2021 where he explained why he no longer worked with the Muppets.
Since the beginning of the Muppets, Frank Oz has been there
Oz was born in England and moved to California as a child. He met Henson as a teenager when the two were employed as puppeteers at an amusement park. For many years, the two worked together on various projects, including The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Labyrinth.
His directing credits with the Jim Henson Company include The black crystal and The Muppets take Manhattan. He is also known to make Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, what about Bob? and Died at funeral.
“I would love to do the Muppets again”, says Frank Oz
Despite a career voicing Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Grover, and Cookie Monster, Oz eventually parted ways with the Muppets. Oz told The Guardian that Disney, who now owns Muppet’s characters, is no longer interested in hiring him.
âI would love to do the Muppets again, but Disney doesn’t want me,â Oz said. He added, “Sesame Street hasn’t asked me for 10 years.”
Oz claimed that he and the company disagreed over the Muppets’ creative direction. âThey don’t want me because I won’t follow orders, and I won’t be the kind of Muppets they believe in,â he continued.
The puppeteer didn’t hold back when asked what he thought about the current state of the franchise. âThe soul is not there,â he said. “The soul is what makes things grow and be funny.”
Oz said there was a difference between âthe Jim Henson Muppets and the Disney Muppets. There is an inability for American businesses to understand the value of something they have purchased. They never understood, with us it’s not just about the puppets, it’s about the performers who love each other and have worked together for many years.
Former Muppeteer thinks the sale is what killed Jim Henson
In one of the interview’s most controversial statements, Oz attributed Henson’s death to the effects of the sale.
âThe Disney deal is probably what killed Jim,â he said. “It made him sick.”
In 1989, Henson and Michael Eisner began deliberations to merge the former’s company with Disney. The deal was worth more than $ 150 million and included the company using Henson as a consultant.
Henson died of toxic shock syndrome before an official deal was reached.
âEisner was also trying to get Sesame Street, which Jim wouldn’t allow,â Oz said. âBut Jim was not a drug dealer. He was an artist, and it was destroying him, it really was. However, his iconic characters from Sesame Street and The puppet show always holds a special place in his heart. âI miss them and love them,â he said.
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