In movies and television, the choice of actor can be critical.  If the character turns out to be the two-foot tall Dominar of the Hynerian Empire, you can’t cast Shaquille O’Neal.  (‘Course, the movie adaptation of ‘Steel’ proved that adage to be true even for characters he is more suitable to play, so that’s probably a bad example.)  Rygel’s success as a character comes from how seamlessly he fits in to the world of ‘Farscape’, and even though it takes half a dozen people to puppeteer his body, he is no less a character than is John Crichton.  The same is true for Master Yoda, whose puppet/CGI interactions (especially in the second prequel movie) are just anchored enough in reality that we think of him as a “him” rather than an “it.”  The fact that both of these examples are partially derived from The Muppets can’t be ignored either (especially given Kermit’s recent public breakup being treated as seriously as any Hollywood split) which leads us to today’s animatronic query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) would be remiss if he didn’t mention his seventeen-year-old self’s sudden dream girl, Jessica Rabbit, asking: Who is the best “non-human actor” in all of pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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4 Comments

  1. August 24, 2015 at 11:45 am — Reply

    Peter “Chewie” Mayhew. We could understand him perfectly without even single like of dialogue.

  2. DamienR
    August 24, 2015 at 11:59 am — Reply

    A tie between Sam the American Eagle and the Newsman from the Muppet Show.
    But then, as you say, The Muppets were/are/will always be genius!

    Non-Muppet, I’d have to second Chewbacca, but also throw in my vote for the next generation’s Johnny 5, namely Wall-E!

  3. Arbor Day
    August 24, 2015 at 6:56 pm — Reply

    Does the Rock Biter from Neverending Story count? His death monologue was memorable. If not then Gmork from the same movie, the Skeksis collectively from The Dark Crystal, or Alf.

  4. August 25, 2015 at 11:17 am — Reply

    I thought about this long and hard, but I just could not pick a single greatest non-human actor. There are quite a few across various mediums that are portrayed so well thanks to the many people who bring them to life. It is equally hard to pick someone behind the suit, puppet or other source because it isn’t just the actor alone that makes the character so believable, but the costume, puppet or prop builder or other artists that also had a hand in creating the characters.

    With that said, Frank Oz has helped bring some of my favorite characters to life, such as Yoda, Animal and Fozzie Bear.

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