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Eren Ozker (Turkish: Eren Özker; 25 July 1948 – 25 February 1993) was a Turkish-American puppeteer and actress. She was one of the original performers during the first season of Jim Henson's popular television series The Muppet Show.

Eren Ozker
Eren Özker

(1948-07-25)July 25, 1948
DiedFebruary 25, 1993(1993-02-25) (aged 44)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
OccupationActress, puppeteer
Years active1969, 1970–1993
Spouse(s)William Bogert[1]


Ozker was born in Ankara, Turkey, and grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA. She received a bachelor's degree in drama from the University of Michigan in 1970.[2] Right after graduating, she toured with the National Shakespeare Company, appearing in Hamlet (Ophelia) and The Merchant of Venice (Jessica). She moved to New York City shortly afterward to perform in numerous off-Broadway productions, such as The Master Builder, in which she portrayed Kaia Fosli.[3] Reviews described her as "an Off-Broadway favorite" and as "a fire-cracker burning at both ends." In 1975, she joined the Hartman Theater Company for its first production, The Government Inspector, meeting her future husband, William Bogert, in the process during the original production of The Runner Stumbles.

In 1976, Ozker went to England and joined the cast of The Muppet Show. As the only full-time female Muppeteer on the show at the time, she performed most of the female characters. These included:

  • Wanda - one-half of the singing duo Wayne and Wanda. Their "wholesome, uplifting and decent" acts, as described by Sam the Eagle, were always cut short in disastrous circumstances.
  • Hilda - mostly restricted to backstage appearances, Hilda was the wardrobe lady for the show with a Slavic accent.
  • Janice - Ozker's most famous character, Janice is the guitarist for Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, as taken over from Fran Brill.

Of her three main characters, only Janice survived after Ozker left the show at the end of the first season. Janice was subsequently performed by Richard Hunt, Matt Vogel, Brian Henson, Tyler Bunch and, most recently, David Rudman.

After performing in Henson productions The Muppet Movie and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, Ozker retired from the Muppet scene and returned to the United States to focus on her family. Her last puppeteering performance was in the 1988 production of The Warrior Ant at the Brooklyn Next Wave Festival.[2]

In 1989, Ozker founded and became chairwoman of the Puppeteers Caucus, a working group within the Screen Actors Guild.[2] Ozker was presented the Joseph C. Riley award by the Guild in 1991 in recognition of her services to the industry.

Ozker died on 25 February 1993, aged 44. Her husband, actor William Bogert, confirmed after her death that she died from cancer.[1]



  1. ^ a b "Remembering Eren". The Black Lamb. April 1, 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Eren Ozker, Actress And Puppeteer, 44; A Voice of Muppets". The New York Times. 27 February 1993. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Lortel Archives: The Master Builder". Lucille Lortel Foundation. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
Preceded by
Fran Brill
Performer of Janice
1976 - 1977
Succeeded by
Richard Hunt