Born: Frank Oz, English-born puppeteer and director
Frank Oz (born Richard Frank Oznowicz on May 25, 1944) is a British-born American film director, actor and puppeteer.
Oz is known for his work as a puppeteer (including voices), performing with Jim Henson's Muppets. His characters have included Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam the Eagle on The Muppet Show, and Grover, Cookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street, among many others. The Muppet character Fozzie Bear is actually not named after Frank Oz, as is widely believed. In addition to performing a variety of characters, Oz has been one of the primary collaborators responsible for the development of the Muppets over the last 30 years. Oz has performed as a Muppeteer in over 75 movies, video releases, and TV specials, as well as countless other public appearances, episodes of Sesame Street, and other Jim Henson series. His puppetry work spans from 1963 to the present, though he has retired from the Muppets. His muppets were taken over by Eric Jacobson, though Oz still performs his characters on occasion. He also worked with the puppets on the movie Labyrinth, starring David Bowie.
Oz is also well known as the performer of Jedi Master Yoda from George Lucas' Star Wars series. Oz performed the voice and puppet for Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, and provided the voice of the CGI Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The conversion to CGI was met with some criticism among fans but Oz himself said that was "exactly what [Lucas] should have done." Oz had a great deal of creative input on the character, and was himself responsible for creating the character's trademark style of using OSV (object-subject-verb) word order instead of normal English SVO. George Lucas was so impressed by Oz's performance as Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back that he tried to get him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.