Camille Bonora

Camille Bonora (also known as Camille Kampouris; born May 13, 1956) is a former Muppet performer, voice performer and actress. She currently serves on the board of BibleMesh online theological studies, as well as a member of the Kairos Journal editorial board.[1]

Bonora, a native of New Jersey, graduated from Catholic University of America, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and initially worked in musical comedy and improvisational comedy.[2] Bonora was also one of the puppeteers who performed The Muppets from 1985 to 1997.[3][4] Bonora herself influenced Joey Mazzarino when she taught an improvisation class at Fordham University, and eventually introduced him to Jim Henson.[5] Mazzarino later became the head writer for Sesame Street and also worked on The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, Muppets from Space, and Kermit's Swamp Years.[6]

In January 2004, she later retired from performing and co-founded the Kairos Journal with her husband Emmanuel A. Kampouris. She serves on its editorial board.[7][8] The journal is an online tool to assist pastors and church leadership with Biblical references, historical precedents, quotations and writing, and commentary.

Early life and careerEdit

Bonora was born in Morristown, New Jersey on May 13, 1956. She was raised in a devout Roman Catholic household and prayed every evening, but by the time she reached high school she said she had drifted from God.

She moved to New York to get into acting, but lost her confidence after many rejections at auditions. On the advice of a friend who was a comedian, she took a comedic improvisation class to boost her confidence. At the class, she observed two performers who particularly impressed her with their skills. Subsequently, she pursued their company and found that they were Christian. In the conversations that developed, the two gave her materials to read, spoke to her about God, and prayed with her, also giving her a verse that she said "touched her heart" for many years and helped her find purpose in life: Psalm 37:4.[9]

The next five years for Bonora included theater comedy and comedic improvisation. She performed sketches and said that the years were difficult and financially lean, but she maintained some success with her improvisation show. The period enabled her to sharpen her character creation and improvisational skills.[9]

She said she was puzzled when Muppet performers wanted her to audition, as she hadn't been a puppeteer. In fact, when she was asked to perform with a puppet, all she could do was shake it. However, the group enjoyed her voices and characters and asked if they could train her, which she accepted. They told her it would take four years to learn the craft, but she was able to pick up the skills quickly and was a lead Muppet performer in one year.[9]

One of the first projects she was assigned to, in 1985, was a short-lived CBS series Little Muppet Monsters. Although it was not a success on the air, it was an opportunity for Bonora to learn more about puppeteering from mentor Richard Hunt.[10]

In 1990, with Ben Harney, she co-wrote a Christian home video series for children called Ben & Eddie, and performed the character of Eddie.[11] Although the show was not officially affiliated with the Muppets, their production facility and puppeteers were used. The show was about Eddie, a puppet dog born in Central Park who was abandoned by his mother, adopted by Ben, a human.[9]

Bonora considered herself "the church lady" of the Muppets as sometimes she would be late to script readings due to being in church or doing charitable volunteer work.[9]

The bulk of her recurring puppet work was done on Sesame Street performing many of the characters on that show, including Goldilocks, Clementine, Ruby Monster, and Meryl Sheep.[12]

FilmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "About BibleMesh". Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  2. ^ "NKJV Unapologetic Study Bible - Editor Emmanuel Kampouris". Thomas Nelson Bibles. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  3. ^ Sesame Street Magazine. 1990. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY TELEVISION: A COMPLETE HISTORY. Disney Editions. 1997. p. 498.
  5. ^ Edwards, Paul Stephen (2014-08-01). "SDCC 'Sesame Street' Brings Parodies, From 'Numeric Con' to 'Star S'Mores'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  6. ^ Hennes, Joe (2009-02-23). "A Chat with Joey Mazzarino, part 1". ToughPigs.com. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  7. ^ "Contributors". www.kairosjournal.org. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  8. ^ "Kairos Journal and BibleMesh Partner with HarperCollins Christian Publishing | The BibleMesh Blog". biblemesh.com. Retrieved 2018-04-11.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Lessons From a Life in Culture and the Arts - An Interview with Camille Kampouris". Forum of Christian Leaders. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  10. ^ a b Falk, Karen (2012). Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal. Chronicle Books. p. 166.
  11. ^ Charisma and Christian Life. Volume 16, Issues 6-11. 1991. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Swick, Thomas (1992-07-26). "Inside the Apple". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  13. ^ "Jim Henson's Red Book 6/29/1985 – 'To NY for Muppet Monster Shoot. End June – buy Falcon – Rabi Gallery.'". The Jim Henson Company. June 27, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  14. ^ "Jim Henson's Red Book 10/6/1986 "VTR The Christmas Toy in Toronto"". The Jim Henson Company. October 7, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Parish and Pitts, James Robert and Michael R. (1990). The great science fiction pictures II, Volume 2. Scarecrow Press. p. 487.
  16. ^ "The Jim Henson hour:The secrets of the Muppets 1989". Digital.lib.umd.edu. The Jim Henson Works at the University of Maryland. 1989. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
Preceded by
None
Performer of Goldilocks
1991 - 1996
Succeeded by
Alice Dinnean
Preceded by
Kevin Clash
Performer of Clementine
1988 - 1992
Succeeded by
None
Preceded by
None
Performer of Mama Bear
1993 - 1996
Succeeded by
Alice Dinnean