Who are the mysterious actors underneath the masks of our favorite movie and TV characters? When an elaborate costume like Chewbacca’s is featured on the big screen, that image will reserve a spot in our memories, but what about the person behind it all? Don’t they deserve some acknowledgement as well? Without these talented and animated actors the characters wouldn’t be nearly as memorable or amusing. Let’s pay tribute to the talent behind the mask.
Godzilla, Japan’s second most attended film since its debut in 1954, cast Haruo Nakajima for the lead roll. Astoundingly, he appeared uncredited after he had parts in over 45 films and to this day Haruo is rarely acknowledged for playing one of the most internationally popular monsters! For a movie that generated so much revenue, the lead should at least have his name on the poster, let alone the credits… after all, what would Godzilla be without Godzilla?!
What about the lovable cat-eating alien Alf? Was he always played by a puppeteer? Michu Meszaros, the smallest man in the world at about 2 feet 9 inches played Alf in 9 episodes. It seems that when you can’t see over a counter, it’s easy to get overlooked. Mr. Snuffleupagus in Sesame Street was mainly choreographed and performed by two men, Marty Robinson as the front-end, and Bryant Young as the back-end. Although you may recognize a few names of the actors listed below, you may not recognize their faces.
Above: Chewbacca/Peter Mayhew
Below: Mr. Snuffleupagus/Bryant Young and Marty Robinson
Big Bird/Caroll Spinney
Fran Sinclair/Tony Sabin
Harry/Kevin Peter Hall