Oz at the 38th Annual Saturn Awards 2012
|Born||Frank Richard Oznowicz
May 25, 1944
|Education||Oakland Technical High School|
|Alma mater||Oakland City College|
|Occupation||Puppeteer, filmmaker, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Robin Garsen (m. 1979; div. 1994)
Victoria Labalme (m. 2011)
I don't buy diamonds, I don't buy cars, but I enjoy travelling. I'm not a very possessive person as far as things go.
I was born in Hereford, England, in 1944. We moved when they had an opportunity to get a visa, about 1950. My dad always thought Europe was a bit too small for him. He wanted to see the United States… The typical immigrant story. He wanted a better life for his children, too. He always tried to get the visa, and it didn't come up.
I'm not politically committed at all in the popular sense; that is, to any party. I'm committed to whatever's best for the normal working person. I'm not a great fan of politics.
The power of the 'Muppets,' and the popularity of these characters, is so iconic in people's lives that I had to distance myself from publicly. Not privately… Privately, hell, I'm with them for life, and I love these people. They're my second family.
I bought a tape recorder and some stuff and went to Europe for three months when I was 18. The puppeteering was only there as a hobby. I wanted to be a journalist. When I was 19, and after I had spent about a year in college, Jim Henson asked me to come out and try puppeteering for awhile.
I have no idea what a British sensibility or a British sense of humor is. I have no concept of what that is. I have no concept of what American sensibility is. I was born in Great Britain, but I was only there for six months, and we moved to Belgium, where I grew up.
Hope and Crosby made seven 'Road' movies, starting in 1940 with 'Road to Singapore.' The movies were always about Crosby and Hope fleeing America and finding Dorothy Lamour in some exotic location. Bob's character was cocky and cowardly; Bing's character was smooth and unruffled. They were great characters – lousy, lovable guys.
I wouldn't like to be that famous, I value my privacy. Mind you, Miss Piggy enjoys every moment of it. If it were not for me, she would spend all her time in the limelight.
I'd like to read a book sometime. I've never read a book before. That'd be an adventure. I understand they have pages and everything. Yeah, I've got to do that sometime.
Well, Hollywood isn't made up of individual studio heads anymore. It's made of corporations. And corporations are looking for the bottom line. They don't want to take chances. They want the money back for stockholders.
I've rewritten a lot of the scripts I've done. 'Little Shop Of Horrors' was a complete rewrite, but I didn't touch the dialogue. Essentially, I'm a very good editor.
I'm not an art director; I'm just not. I've always been somebody who has a sensibility that I hope is the same sensibility of others.
There's a few movies I wanted to do, and I didn't get to do them partly because they wanted me to be part of the horse and pony show, getting the money, and I'm just not doing that. There's a few movies that people wanted me to do, but they were too safe.
I look back on my work and I think, 'Oh, why didn't I do that differently?'
I've always wanted to do non-comedies. I've always done dramas, comedies, music, and I always like to bop around and do different things.
'The Stepford Wives' was too big, and it was unsatisfying to do. Not that it was unsatisfying to do, but it was unsatisfying as a result because, as much as I loved parts of it, and I'm really proud of so much of it, the entire movie wasn't what I wanted it to be. It's my own fault; I didn't follow my instincts.
The more work I do, the more important it is to work with people I like – who are very talented.
I never wanted to be a puppeteer. I stopped puppeteering when I was about 18. I puppeteered when I was eleven years old to 18 to make extra money to go to Europe, which I made half of and my parents gave me half.
What I remember most about the 'Road' movies is my enjoyment at watching the two characters sparring with each other. But more important than that was my feeling that Hope and Crosby were enjoying the sparring, too.
Oakland Technical High School. Like any high-school experience, it was ambiguous. I was shy with girls; I had friends, but there were times I didn't feel I had the right friends. My grades were only so-so.