Frank Oz, the actor most famous for playing Yoda from the Star Wars films, also performed as at least NINE different Muppets!
Believe it or not, Oz was born to a pair of puppeteers, and was honing his craft as part of the Oznowicz Family Marionettes troupe by the age of 12! Oz first crossed paths with Jim Henson at the age of 17 at a national puppetry convention, and he joined the Muppets, Inc. company just two years later, first performing as Rowlf the dog’s right hand. Frank invented the Sesame Street characters of Bert, Grover, and Cookie Monster and performed this trio exclusively for nearly 30 years! He was also offered the role of Big Bird, but turned it down because he hated full-body puppet performance. On The Muppet Show, Oz’s Fozzie Bear was originally intended as a main role, while Miss Piggy was supposed to be more of a secondary character. Oz’s portrayal gave such life to the character that she became one of the stars of the show, and he went from splitting time on her to playing Piggy full-time!
Frank also played Animal, Sam the Eagle, and lesser-known characters like George the Janitor and Marvin Suggs. Over the years, Oz and Jim Henson were quite the dynamic duo, collaborating on famous puppet pairs such as Bert (Oz) and Ernie (Henson) and Kermit the Frog (Henson) and Miss Piggy (Oz)...Oz even did the hands of the Swedish Chef while Henson worked the voice and body! These sketches were even more hilarious because Oz would typically do something unexpected with the hands without telling Henson ahead of time!