Why Frank Oz Doesn’t Work On The Muppets And Sesame Street Anymore

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No matter how old you are, chances are you know Frank Oz - if not by name, then by his voice. He has voiced iconic characters from the ‘60s all the way to the present. He voiced Cookie Monster for upwards of 50 years alone, but the famous voice actor hasn’t voiced any of his Sesame Street or Muppet characters for a number of years. Oz now reveals the reason for his absence in the children’s programs, and it will likely come as a surprise for all of those who grew up listening to his characters.

In an interview with The Guardian, Frank Oz explained why fans haven't heard him voice any Muppets or Sesame Street characters for a while, and why that's unlikely to change. The iconic voice actor said:

I’d love to do the Muppets again but Disney doesn’t want me, and Sesame Street hasn’t asked me for 10 years. They don’t want me because I won’t follow orders and I won’t do the kind of Muppets they believe in.

According to Frank Oz, he no longer has a relationship with Disney, which owns the rights to The Muppets and its many characters, or the people at Sesame Street. His explanation indicates that he wants to stay true to the creative process and type of characters he feels are right for the programs, and he has spoken out about Disney's handling of The Muppets in the past. Oz is an incredibly creative individual and in addition to giving life (and voice) to a wide variety of characters, he also has had a hand in the writing and directing processes for projects.

Frank Oz directed The Dark Crystal with his creative partner Jim Henson and then went on to direct a number of cult classics himself, like Little Shop of Horrors. Oh, and he’s also the man behind Stars Wars’ Yoda. And if that’s not an otherworldly range of talent, I don’t know what is. In the same interview, Oz explained just what issues he has with Disney’s characters that he hasn’t had a part with. Apparently there is no soul in the newer Disney led Muppets, and that just doesn’t sit right with Oz. Here’s how he puts it, exactly:

The soul’s not there. The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them.

You only have to look at a small example of the characters Frank Oz has put out to know that there are, indeed, souls in his puppets. The magic he brings to characters has surely led to his many successes in Hollywood, and even if he no longer voices those characters he helped create he has certainly left his mark in many’s lives with them. Still, with such a long list of credits in beloved properties, it's safe to say that his work won't be forgotten even if he never does get to return to The Muppets or Sesame Street.

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.