Weird Impersonators and Artists
A person who imitates or copy someone’s behavior or actions of other individuals such as famous celebrities in politics, music and acting industry, is called an impersonator. There are several known entertainers who portray an impersonator, impersonating a celebrity generally for entertainment, or makes fun of the celebrity’s recent scandals or known weird behavior characters. Most common public figure impersonated or copied by impersonators are, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Abraham Lincoln, Lenin and even United States President Barack Obama and lot more. Impersonator entertainers impersonating multiple celebrities as part of their act, can be a group of persons or things of the same general character known as impressionists and celebrity impersonators. Impersonator used for crime, as part of a criminal act such as identity theft, a person stealing personal information or trying to assume the identity of other person in order to commit fraud, such as to have an access for confidential information, or to gain property that does not belong to them. Some impersonators known as social engineering (an act of influencing other people with the interest to obtain illegally confidential or sensitive data) and impostors, Decoys (a person, device or event as a way of distraction, to hide what an individual or a group of person might be looking for, used in game hunting, wartime, and in the resolving or committing crimes) sometimes used as a political protection and military officials. This involves an Impersonator who is hired or employed (forced or voluntary) to perform during public appearances,misleading observers and Sowing discord, causing people to fight, or dislike each other for social, business or political gain. Celebrity impersonators are entertainers who are look-alike of famous celebrities, dress up the way as to imitate the artists especially a celebrity who has died and some just to entertain as an act of comedy, mimicking their mannerism and behavior as a tribute to the artists.
1) Edward Moss
Edward Moss known as Eddie Moss, is an American actor, comedian and impersonator, of late pop musician Michael Jackson. Moss is best known for portraying MJ in TV shows even in movies. In the early 1990’s, Moss worked at McDonald’s, where his co-workers kept telling him that he is look-alike of the late pop singer Michael Jackson, and this inspire Moss to audition in a talent contest and won and soon decided to impersonate Michael Jackson for a living. Moss stated, that transforming himself as Michael Jackson, it takes him 30 to 45 minutes to transform. Ed Moss’s skills as impersonator, led him to work in many countries to entertain and earn internationally, such as New Zealand, Bahrain Japan and Philippines. Moss met the real Michael Jackson in 1996, while impersonating and performing as MJ in Hollywood, California. Michael Jackson’s comment to Moss was “You look really good”, and had hired Moss to stand in for him on a number of occasions. Ed Moss has impersonated Jackson in several movies, such as the Date Movie and Scary Movie (third and fourth). However, Moss was accused of mocking the late singer MJ by numerous Jackson’s fans, but Ed Moss denies accusations that he impersonate Michael Jackson to exploit the late singer in a negative manner.
2) Joe Wiegand
Joe Wiegand is an impersonator who has portrayed 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt in all 50 US States, and a consultant to candidate seeking for public office. On October 27, 2008, during the last months of George W. Bush as the U.S. president, Joe Wiegand was invited to come to the White House as part of the official White House celebration of the 150th anniversary of Roosevelt’s birth and impersonate and portray Theodore Roosevelt in the East Room.
3) Steve Bridges
Steve Bridges, age 48, was an American actor, comedian and impressionist who developed to perform list of dramas, operas and television shows of over 200 impressions, such as TV characters Homer Simpson and Barney Fife, political leaders like Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger, broadcasters Tom Brokaw, Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh. Steve Bridges appeared in 2006, alongside the real President George W. Bush at the White House Correspondent’s Association dinner, mimicking the president by voice acting the president’s inner thoughts during Bush’s presidential speech. On March 3, 2012, Steve Bridges was found dead on, by his maid in his Los Angeles home, after he failed to return a call the day before. Bridges had just returned from performing in Hong Kong as revealed by his agent, and went to bed complaining that he felt tired and a super-jetlagged. Steve Bridges death has been ruled an accident and that the probable cause of death was due to upper airway anaphylaxis, caused by a severe allergic reaction.
4) “Reggie” Brown
Reginald “Reggie” Brown is an American voice actor, comedian, writer, model, producer and impersonator.Reggie Brown can perform over 60 vocal and singing impressions and has perfected regional dialects from all around the wold, and he is best known for his comedic impersonating act of U.S. President Barack Obama. Brown is best known as the top choice for corporate, political and privates entertainment, and on television shows, often appearing as President Obama. Before becoming a professional impressionist, Brown worked as a professional model for several years with Ford Model Management, traveling the United States. Reggie Brown caused controversy in June 2011, when he appeared in New Orleans, Louisiana’s 2011 Republican Leadership Conference for criticizing several of the 2012’s Republican Party’s presidential candidates, resulting to pulling out Brown from the stage by convention organizers. Reggie Brown defended his remarks, winning the support and admiration of both political parties, the Democrats and Republicans has since become a viral video sensation on sites like YouTube. Just the same as to Obama, Brown was born to a white mother and black father. His stepfather died while Brown was growing up. Brown began performing during his high school with various impressions of celebrities, including impersonating of actor Sean Connery, comedian Bill Cosby and The Sopranos’ fictional character of Tony Soprano.
James John Gandolfini, Jr. was an American actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, a troubled crime boss who struggle to balance his career and his family life in the Mafia. As Tony Soprano, it is Gandolfini’s most acclaimed role, as the lead character in the HBO drama The Sopranos, as a family man and a mob boss in New Jersey whose existential psychotherapy questioning includes his regular psychiatric appointments. Tony Soprano or Anthony John Soprano, is an Italian-American fictional character portrayed by James Gandolfini. The Sopranos show debuted in 1999 and was aired until 2007. Gandolfini won three Best Actor in Drama in Emmys for his performance as Tony Soprano. In 2002, Gandolfini and his first wife, Marcy Wudarski, divorced , and together they have a son, Michael (born 2000). Gandolfini married former model Deborah Lin on August 30, 2008, who was 40 years old at the time, in her hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, and together they had a daughter, Liliana Ruth Gandolfini, was born on October 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. On June 19, 2013, James Gandolfini died during a brief vacation in Rome, Italy. Michael Gandolfini, his 13-year-old son, discovered James Gandolfini on the bathroom floor fo Boscolo Exedra Hotel at around 10 pm local time in Rome’s Piazza della Repubblica. Michael called hotel reception, who in turn immediately called emergency paramedics. According to reports, Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at 10:40 pm and was pronounced dead at 11 pm, and died from heart attack confirmed by an autopsy result.
5) Dana Carvey
Dana Thomas Carvey is an American actor and stand-up comedian, best known for his work impersonating George H. W. Bush on Saturday Night Live, as a cast member and also playing the role of Garth Algar in the Wayne’s World film. Carvey impersonated celebrities such as, Prince Charles, Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Michael J. Fox, John Lennon and many more celebrities from Hollywood to politics. Carvey is married to Paula Zwaggerman and together they have two sons, Dex, born in 1991 and Thomas,born in 1993. Dana Carvey underwent heart-bypass surgery in 1997, for a blocked coronary artery, but the surgeon operated on the wrong artery. After the surgery, Dana Carvey, was suffering from angina pectoris. Carvey sued the surgeon for medical malpractice and was awarded $8 million in damages. Carvey has to undergo another surgery to correct his heart problems. In an interview, Carvey told Newsday that while he was in the hospital for his final angioplasty, he learned that the adjacent room to his room is where legendary singer and actor, Frank Sinatra died.
6) Jimmy Fallon
James Thomas “Jimmy” Fallon is an American actor, comedian, singer, musician and television host, currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show, airing on NBC. Fallon has appeared in several films, previously and from 1998 to 2004, he was best known as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. NBC announced on April 3, 2013, that Fallon would be replacing The Tonight Show host, Jay Leno, at the 2014 Winter Olympics conclusion. Fallon was best known for impersonating celebrities, Jerry Seinfeld, French Stewart, Pat O’Brien, Chris Rock, Hilary Swank, Gilbert Gottfried, Enrique Iglesias, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Miller, Adam Sandler, Jeff Foxworthy, Eddie Murphy and Larry the Cable Guy. Jimmy Fallon also impersonated famous musical artists, Bono of U2, Adam Duritz of Counting Crows, Alanis Morissette and Robert Smith of The Cure. He first appeared and impersonated and dubbed himself as Tebowie in January 2012, his impersonation of the famously-religious quarterback that went viral, gained positive acclaim from the public. On March 20, 2012, Jimmy Fallon revived the act, after the Denver Broncos acquired superstar and future hall of fame Peyton Manning a quarterback, and revealed their intentions to trade Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Jimmy Fallon continues to do impersonations, especially of famous singers, in some of the show’s comedy segments. On December 22, 2007,Fallon married film producer Nancy Juvonen, co-owner of Flower Films production company.
7) Will Ferrell
John William “Will” Ferrell is an American actor, comedian, impressionist, and writer. He first established himself as NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live cast member in the mid-1990s, and has starred in the comedy films. Ferrell is considered a Frat Pack member (group of male Hollywood comedy actors), a generation in the late 1990s and 2000s, of leading Hollywood comic actors including Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn and brothers Owen and Luke Wilson. Ferrell the son of Betty Kay Overman, a teacher who taught at Old Mill School elementary school and Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr. best known as The Righteous Brothers band which he joined in 1967 as keyboardist and saxophonist. Ferrell made a name for himself during his Saturday Night Live performances with his impersonations, including US President George W. Bush, Harry Caray Chicago Cubs announcer, Robert Goulet, singer (crooning a capella pieces of music by Sisqo, Baha Men and Notorious B.I.G.) singer Neil Diamond, host of Inside the Actors Studio James Lipton (who favored Ferrell’s impersonation), Ted Kennedy– Massachusetts Senator, Janet Reno -United States Attorney General, convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynki, game show host Alex Trebek, fictitious black private detective Shaft, professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, and Cuban President Fidel Castro. In August 2000, Ferrell married Viveca Paulin, a Swedish actress whom he met in 1995 at an acting class. They have three sons, Magnus Paulin Ferrell (born March 7, 2004), Mattias Paulin Ferrell (born December 30, 2006), and Axel Paulin Ferrell (born January 23, 2010).
8) Tina Fey
Elizabeth Stamatina “Tina” Fey is an American actress, comedian, writer, impersonator and producer, known for her work on the NBC Saturday Night Live sketch comedy from 1997 to 2006, the critically acclaimed 30 Rock NBC comedy series from 2006 to 2013, and films as 2004 Mean Grils, 2008 Baby Mama, 2010 Date Night and 2013 Admission. Tin Fey first ventured into comedy as a featured player in the Chicago-based improvisational comedy group The Second City, and appeared next in the comedy film Date Night in 2010, alongside Steve Carell and in Megamind animated film with Will Ferrell. Tina Fey was awarded by the Associate Press (AP), the 2008 AP Entertainer of the Year award for her portrayal and impersonating as Sarah Palin Republican vice presidential candidate in a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. From September to November 2008, Fey made frequent guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, performing series of parodies of Sarah Palin the Republican vice presidential. Tina Fey impersonated Sarah Palin in a comedy sketch, alongside Amy Poehler as Hilary Clinton on the 34th season premier episode which was aired on September 13, 2008. On June 3, 2001, Tina Fey married 30 Rock composer Jeff Ricmond, at Chicago’s Second City. Together they have two daughters: Alice Zenobia Richmond (born September 10, 2005) and Penelope Athena Richmond (born August 10, 2011).
An Elvis impersonator is someone who impersonates or copy famous American musician Elvis Presley. Professional Elvis impersonators, commonly known as Elvis tribute artists (ETAs), can work all over the world as entertainers, and because of the unique iconic status of the late Elvis Presley, such impersonations as tribute acts are in great demand.
9) Rich Little
Richard Caruthers “Rich” Little is a Canadian-American impressionist and voice actor, thus he was called The Man of a Thousand Voices, by voice actor Mel Blanc. Rich Little formed a partnership with Geoff Scott (who later turned as politician) during his early teens, another young impressionist, concentrating on reproducing the voices of Canadian politicians such as former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton. At the age of 17, they were performing professionally in night clubs. One of his best known impressions is of U.S. PresidentvRichard Nixon (reprising the role as Nixon in 1991 as ideal sperm donor in Gina’s fantasies on the Santa Barbara soap opera), and continued to impersonate Nixon in various television appearances during the 1970s. Little was first married to Jeanne Worden from 1971 until their divorce in 1989, together they have a daughter, Bria. In 1994, Little married Jeannette Markey, and divorced in 1997. He was married to Marie Marotta from 2003 until her death (of a deliberate overdose of sleeping pills after suffering from chronic pain in 2010). In 2012, he married Catherine Brown, his fourth wife, in a private ceremony in 2012.
10) Aries Spears
Aries Spears is an American stand-up comedian, actor, and voice artist, who has regular show MADtv on Fox’s sketch comedy, appearing in 198 episodes, making Spears the second longest original cast member on the show after Debra Wilson. He is well known for his impersonating famous celebrities, including rappers Jay-Z, Cool J, DMX and Snoop Dogg, actros Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Arnodl Schwarzenegger and Paul Mooney, his fellow comedian.
11) Moin Akhtar
Moin Akhtar was a Pakistani television stage and film actor, comedian, humorist, host and impersonator. Akhtar was also a singer, writer, film director and producer. Moin Akhtar is famous for his humor for people of all ages, and with unmatched etiquette he retained with his humors, avoiding vulgarity in his humor which made him a favorite amongst family audiences. Akhtar was fluent in several languages, including English, Bengali, Sindhi, Punjabi, Memon, Pashto, Gujarati and Urdu. Akhtar performed as an artists in several stage shows with Umer Sharif in India, not only in Pakistan also in Bakra Qiston Pe and Buddha Ghar Pe Hai. Moin Akhtar rose to fame and was noted and gathered critical acclaim for his performance in the drama Rozy portrayed the role of a female TV artist, an Urdu adaptation of Tootsie a Hollywood movie starred by American actor Dustin Hoffman. Moin Akhtar hosted the Pakistani version Who Wants to be a Millionaire game show, known as Kya Aap Banaingay Crorepati? Akhtar’s most popular shows include Rozy, Loose Talk and Eid Train. On April 22, 2011 estimated time 6:15pm in Karachi , Akhtar died after suffering from a heart attack. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons.
12) Willie Nepomuceno
Willie Nepomuceno or known as Willienep, is a Filipino actor, comedian and voice actor. Nepomuceno’s father Leonardo was a policeman and an amateur boxer who loves to dance, while his mother Francisca was a beautician who plays the piano, and he is the eldest among three siblings. Nepomuceno’s dream is to become a singer and actor someday, but rose to fame as a comic impersonator during the Marcos regime and now recognized as the Philippine’s master impersonator. Willienep impersonates famous personalities including Philippine President Noynoy Aquino, Alfredo Lim as Harry Fatter (former Manila mayor), former Justice secretary Serafin Cuevas, the late president Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, Fidel V. Ramos, Gringo Honasan, Ping Lacson, Nur Misuari, the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr., the late comedy king Dolphy, boxer Manny Pacquiao and other celebrities. He also impersonated international personalities such as Stevie Wonder, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Bruce Lee.
13) mime artist
A mime artist are actor and imitator, a person who uses mime as a performance art medium in theater, that involves miming, or the acting out a story through body motions, without any dialogue or use of speech. In English, such a performer is referred to as a mummer in ancient times. Miming is to be characterized from silent comedy, in which the artist is smoothly continuous character in a stage, film or comedy sketch. Pantomime (informally, panto) is not to be confused with the mime theatrical medium, a form of stage production of musical comedy, designed for families, developed in the United Kingdom, commonly performed during the season of Christmas and New Year celebration. The modern pantomime includes songs, slapstick comedy and dancing, employs gender-crossing actors, and dealing with a story-telling based on fairy tales with combined humors.
Pablo Zibes is an Argentinian actor and mime who current lives in Germany since 1995, who became a professional mime since 1991. Zibes as a mime and street performer traveling through Europe and Asia. Pablo Zibes performs as a walk around entertainer mimic different characters such as wind up, toy soldier and robot, and commonly performs for festivals, events, conventions, and television.
14) Mummers Plays
Mummers Plays (also known as mumming) are seasonal folk plays commonly performed without play scripts by troupes of actors known as mummers or guisers (or known by local names such as rhymers, pace-eggers, soulers, tipteerers, galoshins, guysers, and so on), originally from the British Isles, but soon celebrated in parts of the world in different cultures. Sometimes mummers performed in the street but more commonly as house-to-house visits and in public houses. Mumming may have any rare act in French and German carnival customs and traditions, with performers in an equal distance apart everywhere in two rows same distance apart. The season for mummers throughout Britain was the season around Christmas, while in some parts of England, mummers performed around All Soul’s Day also called as Souling or soul-caking, or during Easter season or Pace-egging or Peace-egging. The mummers plays are traditionally associated with Sword dances or rapper dances in north-eastern England.
Kukeri is a traditional Bulgarian belief ritual to scare away evil spirits, with men in costume performing the ritual. These traditions are closely related found throughout the Balkans (from the east of Bulgaria to the very east of Serbia), Greece including Romania and the Pontus (Ancient Region of Anatolia). The kukeri celebrated around New Year or before Lent, and walk and dance through the village to scare evil spirits away with the costumes covering most of the body wearing animal wooden masks and the sound of the bells attached to the belt, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village throughout the year.The traditional kukeri visit the peoples’ houses at night with beliefs that “the sun would not catch them on the road.” The kukeri gather at the square performing wild dance to amuse people, after going around the village. The kukeri ritual varies by region but its meaning and beliefs remains the same.
15) India Mime Artist
The Classical Indian musical theater although often incorrectly named as dance, is a group of performers in theatrical forms presents a narrative via stylized gesture, an array of hand positions, and mime illusions playing different characters, actions, and landscapes, recitation, music, and even percussive footwork performances sometimes accompanied by the percussion instrument. The ancient formal and systematic exposition in writing of Natya Shastra, on theater by Bharata Muni, and mentioned mukabhinaya or silent performance.
Bharata Muni stated the eight Rasas (moods or emotions) and has four pairs, the Nātya-śāstra, an ancient work of dramatic theory. Each rasa or emotion, according to Nātyasāstra, has a presiding deity and a specific color. The Hasya for instance, arises out of Sringara, the aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. In Indian art, it evolved with an emphasis to induce spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with symbolically representation.
Stories from Indian epics are told with facial expressions, in Kathakali, with hand signals and body motions. Actors act out the scene and performed accompanied by songs narrating the story, followed by actor detailing without background support of narrative song.
16) Japanese Noh
Noh or Nogaku derived from the Sino-Japanese word for talent or skill, perfomed since the 14th century, a major form of classical Japanese musical drama. Mostly of the characters wear masks, with men performing the role of male and female. A Noh performance day traditionally lasts all day and consists of five Noh plays distributes with shorter, humorous Kyōgen pieces. The Noh performances nowadays, often consist of two Noh plays with one Kyōgen play in between. Butoh is the collective name for a different range of activities, techniques and dance motivations, performance, or movement inspired by the Ankoku-Butoh, though often referred to as a dance form, has been adopted by various performers in theater.
Ventriloquism, or ventriloquy, is a stagecraft act in which a person (a ventriloquist) changes his or her voice so that it appears that the voice is coming from elsewhere, usually a puppet dummy. The ability to throw one’s voice is the act of ventriloquism or ventriloquizing.
Jeff Dunham is an American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian who appeared on various television shows. Walter the muffet, is a retired, grumpy old man with arms always crossed in discontent, while Achmed the muffet known for yelling, is the skeletal corpse of an incompetent suicide bomber, whom Dunham uses to to attack or ridicule the terrorism issue.
Terry Wayne Fator born June 10, 1965, is from Dallas, Texas, an impressionist, singer, comedian, actor and ventriloquist. Fator has performed 100 ventriloquism impersonations, and uses 16 different puppets in his act. Terry Fator is the America’s Got Talent season 2 winner, and received the million dollar prize, he was signed as The Mirage Hotel and Casino headliner in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chris Sligh, American singer-songwriter and producer who was an American Idol season six finalist, finishing in tenth place, is Terry Fator’s second cousin. Fator was ten years old when he first acquired his first ventriloquism dummy, and been practicing ventriloquism and impersonator while driving his car.Fator guested onSeptember 10, 2008, at the Top Twenty Results Show of America’s Got Talent Top Twenty Results Show. He performed with his Impersonating Turtle singing Marvin Gaye’s song. Terry Fator owns various puppets for his shows such as Walter T. Airedale, a country singer and the longest puppet he owned, Winston the Impersonating Turtle which was inspired by Kermit the Frog, which he said, “Originally I had a Kermit the Frog puppet and I would have him sing Rainbow Connection, but when I called up The Muppets to ask permission if I can portray Kermit the Frog impression on national TV, they said I could do the impression but I could not use Kermit the Frog puppet”. And invented another puppet using turtle do an impression of a frog singing Louis Armstrong song. Johnny Vegas a lounge singer, impersonating often Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, and seven other puppets performing with Fator. Fator had been the lead singer in a band doing often impersonations of singers Etta James, James Taylor, Garth Brooks and Dean Martin, performing ventriloquism as Fator’s comic side gig.
Puppetry is a form of performance in theater involving manipulation of puppets, which whas been a practice in ancient times. Puppetry has various forms of performances, but they all share the process of animating non living performing objects. Puppetry is used in rituals by human societies both as entertainment, in performance and ceremonials and carnivals celebration. Most puppetry performances involves storytelling based of legends or epic story.
Wayang in Indonesia
Wayang is a Javanese word for particular kinds of theater, also the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theater, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as wayang. The shadow puppet theater performances are accompanied by Java’s gamelan orchestra, and by gender wayang in Bali, Indonesia. On November 7, 2003, the UNESCO designated wayang kulit, a shadow puppet theater and the best known of the Indonesian wayang as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and for this acknowledgment, the UNESCO required Indonesians to preserve their heritage.
Yoke thé is the marionette puppetry in Burma, usually refers to the local form of string puppetry. Like most of Burmese refined art, Yoke thé marionette puppetry performances originated from Royal patronage and were adapted for the wider Burmese population and always performed commonly in operas. Yoke thé Burmese marionettes are very complexly arranged elements and skillful controlled with only one puppeteer, each puppet, as they employ 18 (for male characters) or 19 (for female) wires.
Glove puppetry or bùdàixì
The budaxi puppet shows in Taiwan, is quite similar to the Japanese Bunraku, performed with puppeteers working in the background or underground. Some very experienced puppeteers can manipulate their puppets to perform various stunts, such as somersaults in the air, dancing, and lot more acts. The budaxi is also called Glove puppetry, using cloth puppets in a type of opera that originated in Fujian province in Quanzhou or Zhangzhou, China during the 17th century, and historically practiced in the Min Nan-speaking areas the Guangdong region of Chaoshan and other parts of southern China. It had since established as a popular art form in Taiwan.The head of the puppet is made of wood carved into the shape of a hollow human head, but aside from the head, palms, and feet, which are made of wood, while the puppet’s body or torso and limbs is made entirely of cloth costumes. A gloved hand enters the puppet’s costume during the performance and makes it perform. In previous years the puppets used in this type of performance is similar to cloth sacks, therefore the name, which means literally as cloth bag opera.
Bunraku in Japan has many forms of puppetry, which has been documented traditional Japanese activity for hundred of years, developed out of Shinto temple rites and gradually became a highly sophisticated form of puppetry. Bunraku also known as Ningyō jōruri is a form of Japanese traditional puppet theater, founded in 1684 in Osaka. There are three kinds of performers, taking part in a bunraku performance, the puppeteers Ningyōtsukai or Ningyōzukai, Tayū the chanters and the Shamisen players, where taiko drums and other musical instruments are used occasionally. The most accurate term for the traditional puppet theater in Japan is ningyō jōruri is the common term for traditional puppets. Jōruri is the combination of Shamisen playing and chanting and the Japanese word for puppet or dolls called ningyō. The kashira or puppet’s heads are divided into categories according to gender, social class and personality. The costume masters designed the costumes composed of a series of garments with various colors and patterns, including a sash and a collar as well as juban, an under robe, kitsuke an inner kimono, a haori or vest or uchikake an outer robe. In order to keep the costumes soft they are lined with cotton. As the puppet’s clothing will be worn out or get dirty or soiled, the clothing is replaced by the puppeteers. Koshirae is the process of dressing or redressing the puppets by the puppeteers.
Water puppetry or Múa rối nước
Water puppetry or Múa rối nước, meaning puppets that dance on water, is a northern Vietnam tradition that dates back as far as the 11th century when it originated in the Red River Delta villages. Vietnamese water puppetry nowadays is a unique variation on the ancient Asian puppet tradition. The puppets are made out of laquered wood. The water puppetry shows are performed in a waist-deep pool, with a large rod supporting the puppet under the water by the puppeteers, controlling the puppets who are normally hidden behind a screen, and appears the puppets moving over the water. The farmers of the village, entertain each other with these puppet plays during flooding of rice fields. Múa rối nước is considered to have originated in the Red River Delta and the water puppetry art remains highly developed today in this country.
Tholpavakoothu is a shadow puppetry form that is practiced in Kerala, India, performed using puppets made of leather, as a ritual dedicated to Bhadrakali and is performed in koothumadams built thetaers in Devi temples. This art form is especially popular in the Kerala areas such as Mala[[uram districts and Palakkad and Thrissur.
Tholpavakoothu or Tolpava Koothu is a shadow puppetry tradition that is unique to Kerala, India. Tholpavakoothu puppet performances are based on chosen Tamil epic verses Kamba Ramayana. Tholpavakoothu is performed in ritualistic art at more than 100 temples in the Palakkad, Trichur and Mallapuram Kerala districts, from January through May on a koothumadams, a constructed special stages. A street puppet show of central Karnataka, around Davangere, performed exclusively by women, consisting the drama between two wives of Shiva, Ganga and Gowri. The Tholpavakoothu shadow puppets are made out of animal skin,held by a thin stickin one hand, thelimbs are manipulated by a thinner tick, hel by the puppeteers in his other arms. The shadow puppetry’s performances may last 7, 14, 21, 41 or even 71 days depending on the temple tradition.
A puppeteer is a person who manipulates a non living object, such as a puppet, creating the illusion of life. The puppeteer may be visible or hidden behind curtains from the audience. A puppeteer can operate and manipulate a puppet indirectly using strings, rods, wires, electronics or directly by the puppeteer’s own hands inserted inside the puppet or holding it externally. Some puppet styles require puppeteers to work together as a team creating a single puppet character.There are a wide range puppetry styles, however, whatever the style, the puppeteer’s role is to manipulate the physical object in such a manner that the audience believes what the puppet portrays is to inspire or influence thoroughly with life. In some instances the puppeteer’s character is also an important role.
black light puppet
The black light puppet is where the puppets are operated on a stage lit on stage with ultraviolet lighting, where the puppeteer and the emphasized colors of the puppets are hidden. The puppeteers is dressed in black with a black background (usually made of black velvet) while performing puppetry on stage, and manipulate the puppets under the light, while they position themselves unseen against the black unlit background.This form of puppetry’s original concept can be traced to Bunraku puppetry.
Carnival puppets (AKA body puppets)
Carnival puppets also called body puppets are usually designed to be part of a big event, often used in parades. The puppets are at least the size of a human and sometimes even much larger. One or more performers are required to move the body and limbs. In some parades, the appearance and personality of the person inside puppet is not relevant to the spectators. These carnival or body puppets are commonly associated with large scale entertainment, such in various nightly Disney parades complexes around the world.
The simple puppet with variant characters, which first onto a single finger is called a finger puppet. Finger puppets are not hand puppets as they are used only on a finger.
A puppet made of sock materials or similar garment are called sock puppet. The puppeteer wears the sock on a hand looking like a glove and lower arm, with the mouth of the puppet being formed by the region between the sock’s heel and toe, and the puppeteer’s thumb acting as the jaw.
The glove puppet also called hand puppet, are puppets controlled by one hand occupying the puppet’s interior. One familiar examples of hand puppets is the Punch and Judy hand puppets. A puppet constructed around a central rod secured to the head is known as rod puppet. A large glove covers the rod and is attached to the puppet’s neck, controlled by the puppeteer moving the metal rods attached to any other limbs or the hands of the puppet, and by turning the central rod secured to the head.
Human-arm puppet or Two-man Muppet
A human-arm puppet otherwise called two-man Muppet or a live-hand puppet, is similar to a hand puppet but is larger and requires two puppeteers to operate. One of the puppeteer insert a hand inside the puppet’s head and operates its head and mouth while putting their other arm into a glove and special sleeve attached to the puppet (the right arm if they are left handed and left arm if they are right handed). The second puppeteer puts their arm into the glove and special sleeve attached to the puppet in order to move the other arms of the puppet. The puppet can perform individual discretion or judgment hand gestures, and this is a form of glove or hand puppetry and rod puppetry.
20) Marionettes or String Puppets
String puppets also called Marionettes are controlled by various strings and suspended, and sometimes a central rod is attached to a control bar held by the puppeteer from above.The control bar can be either a horizontal or vertical one. Basic strings for operation are usually attached to the head, back, hands that control the arms and just above the knee to control the legs. This form of puppetry is complicated and sophisticated to operate, that requires greater manipulative control than a finger, glove or rod puppet. In the movie Sound of Music, the puppet play performed by the Von Trapp children with Maria is known as a marionette show.
In most performance of the Object Puppets can be created with everyday objects either assembled in advance or during performance, therefore, not all forms of puppetry needs special created items for the puppet. A Spanish ventriloquist named Señor Wences who became popular through his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, an American program. Señor Wences characters included a face drawn on his hand called Johnny and a rough and hoarse head in a box, Pedro who would talk when Wences opened the box. Same as the chinface puppetry which involves a feature of a puppet drawn or attached onto an upside-down chin. A chinface, sometimes compared to as a chinikin, chinhead, chinman, or chinmonster usually a performance of a conical or cone-like nature, involving someone’s chin. By drawing or attaching eyes, it gives a distorted face impression when viewed upside down.
The word poppet is an older spelling of puppet, derived from the Middle English popet, which means a small child or doll in British English. In British term, the word poppet means endearment, such as dear or sweetie especially addressed for a young woman or girl. A poppet in folk-magic and witchcraft, a poppet, also known as Poppits, Moppets, Mommets and Pippies is a doll created to represent a person, for casting spells or helping using magic on that person. The poppets are occasionally found lodged in chimneys. The creation of these dolls may be fashioned from carved root, grain or corn shafts, a fruit, paper, wax, a potato, clay, branches or cloth stuffed with various herbs materials with the intention that any performed actions upon the effigy will be moved to the subject based on sympathetic magic. Poppets also used as figures of kitchen witch, and through these European dolls where the Voodoo dolls myth came from.
22) Jerry Nelson
The American puppeteer, Jerry L. Nelson, best known for his work with The Muppets, widely acclaimed for his wide range of characters and singing abilities, who performed Muppet characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and lot more Muppet movies. Jerry Nelson’s longest-running character as voice and puppetry was Count von Count, from 1971 to 2004, the counting vampire who took delight in counting anything he could on the long running children’s show, Sesame Street, and continued to provide the Count’s voice until his death. Nelson’s other Muppet roles on that program were Herry Monster, as The Amazing Mumford, Mr. Johnson as Biff the Construction worker, Simon Soundman, Frazzle and Sherlock Hemlock. Nelson had a daughter named Christine from his first marriage to Jacqueline Nelson Gordon. Christine Nelson died in 1982 from a disease known as cystic fibrosis. Nelson announced in 2004, that he would no longer be performing puppeteering his Muppet characters, citing health reasons, but continued to voice his characters on Sesame Street until his death. Nelson died on August 23, 2012, in his Cape Cod home, from a complications of his illness, suffered from prostate cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema (type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs), which for the last six years of his life, he was required an oxygen tank to assist his breathing. Nelson was cremated and his ashes were given to his family. After Nelson’s death, Matt Vogel performed Nelson’s Muppet characters, as well as the Count von Count puppetry, with Nelson following his death. Vogel has recently started as voice and puppetry performing the Count.
23) Matt Vogel
Matthew J Vogel II better known as Matt Vogel, has been a performer as Muppet for the Jim Henson Company since the 1990s. Matt Vogel served as the assistant puppeteer for Ernie on Sesame Street, performing either one or both hands while Steve Whitmire performed the head and vocal.
24) Frank Oz
Frank Oz born Frank Richard Oznowicz is an English-born American voice actor, film director and puppeteer, puppet creator and performer as characters Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show along with Jim Henson, as well as the Sesame Street characters as Cookie Monster, Bert and Grover. Frank Oz voiced-over Yoda in the Star Wars film series. Oz puppetry spans his work from 1963 to the present, although he has retired full-time from the Muppets, and Eric Jacobson took over his Muppet,(initially started in 1997 playing Bert, but officially joined in 2000 the cast as Bert and additional Muppets. Frank Oz’ role expanded in 2002 to include new segments for Grover, and replacing Oz’ role as Cookie Monster by David Rudman. Frank Oz still comes in occasionally to record new material with Cookie Monster, as well as Bert and Grover, in 2002, although Frank Oz still performs occasionally with his Sesame Street characters.
25) Martin P. Robinson
Martin P. Robinson, age 59, is a Jim Henson Company puppeteer, and also built, designed, and performed the puppets for Little Shop of Horrors. Robinson is best known for his Sesame Street work, who have performed the Telly Monster, Mrs. Grouch (mother of Oscar), Slimey the Worm, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Irvine Oscar’s niece, and Tony the Turtle on the show for over 30 years. Robinson also performed on Allegra’s Window as the character Riff, and was an animatronic puppeteer for Teenage Mutan Ninja Turtles as Leonardo. Robinson’s work as puppeteer was credited for training the puppeteers on Sesame Tree. On August 9, 2008, Robinson was married to Sesame Street writer, Annie Evans, on the set of Sesame Street in the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York. Robinson and Evans have twin daughters, Lyra and Ripley, born on February 12, 2009. Robinson also has four grown children from a previous marriage.