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Dave Goelz (b. July 16, 1946) has been one of the lead Muppet performers for over 35 years, performing Gonzo the Great, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, & Beauregard on The Muppet Show, Boober Fraggle & Uncle Travelling Matt on Fraggle Rock & Rugby Tiger in The Christmas Toy. Dave also performed the voice of Subconscious Guard Frank in Inside Out.
Building Muppets/The birth of Gonzo
In 1972, Goelz met Frank Oz at a puppetry festival, & during a vacation in New York City, he attended the daily Sesame Street tapings. A few months later, Goelz showed his design portfolio to Jim Henson, & in 1973, he was offered a job w/ Henson Associates as a part-time puppet builder. His 1st assignment was to build puppets & design effects for a proposed Broadway show. However, the show was soon abandoned in favor of an ABC pilot, The Muppets Valentine Show, for which Goelz built characters & got his first crack at performing, playing Brewster, who he also designed.
Upon Goelz's return to California, he learned he was replaced by his electronics employer, so he set up shop creating puppets for industrial videos. 8 months later, in the fall of 1974, Henson offered him a full-time position as a builder/designer, & occasional performer in specials, while still letting him keep his industrial clients. Returning to New York, Goelz began work on The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, for which he built the new host character, Nigel. Working from sketches by Jim Henson, Michael K. Frith & Bonnie Erickson, he also built Floyd Pepper, Animal, & Zoot, the latter becoming his 1st major character.
In 1976, Goelz joined the rest of the Henson team and flew to London to begin work on The Muppet Show. In addition to reprising his role of Zoot and playing background roles, as in the earlier specials, Goelz was promoted to "Principal Muppet Performer" with the starring role of Gonzo. The puppet had debuted in The Great Santa Claus Switch, as Cigar Box Frackle, & had made brief appearances in Muppet Meeting Films & Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, with different performers. The sad-eyed creation was now given a permanent name & puppeteer. However, in addition to playing Gonzo, Goelz was still employed in the Muppet Workshop.
1990s to present
Eventually, following Jim Henson's very tragic, sudden death in 1990, & with Frank Oz continuing to focus heavily on directing, Gonzo the character & Goelz the performer gained increased significance, starting with the 1st new feature, The Muppet Christmas Carol. By performing Gonzo as Charles Dickens as narrator, Goelz (accompanied by Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat, a pairing which would be repeated in subsequent productions) largely dominated the Muppet side of the film, & received top billing as "Muppet Performer" (a distinction which would continue through Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets from Space) "...when we did The Muppet Christmas Carol, [Gonzo] developed a soulful side. He played the part of Dickens, and I just loved doing that. It just paralleled my own growth. Jerry Juhl wrote it as a way of getting Dickensian prose into the movie. But the fact that he chose Gonzo was very satisfying to me. And I think it was because he saw me changing and I think he felt that Gonzo could change too" (Film Threat). Goelz also took over the part of Waldorf from Jim Henson.
- Muppet Characters: Gonzo the Great, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, Waldorf (1992 - present)
- The Muppet Show Characters: Alfredo the Mop Dancer, Ali Baba, Alien, Avocado, Banananose Moldenado, Baskerville the Hound (episode 524), Beauregard, Behemoth (episode 115), Billy the Bear (episode 412), Brewster, Brown Bat, Bullets Barker, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Dr. Salamander, Geri and the Atrics (Drummer), Gingerbread Man, The Gogolala Jubilee Jugband (Blue Whatnot), Gonzo the Great, Gorgon Heap (episode 119), Inspector LaBrea, Johnny, Kermit the Pig, Klaus Mueller, Koozebanian Spooble, Lenny the Lizard (episode 103), Sundance, Lubbock Lou, Luis Greco, Luncheon Counter Monster (occasionally), Mackerel, Matador, Mean Mama (episode 202), Mildred Huxtetter (episode 115), Miss Kitty (episodes 101, 103 & 107), Mr. Dawson, Muppy, Otto the Automatic Entertainer, Paul Revere (legs), Rabbi, Righton Bird, Salzburg Sauerkraut Singer, Signor Baffi, Svengali (episode 103), Timmy Monster (occasionally), Tom, Dick, and Harry (Dick), Walter Tell, Warthog, Wig Trainer, Zoot
- Sesame Street Characters: Piño, Elephant, Mr. Between, Rocky, China Shop Clerk
- The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence: Avarice, Brewster, Zoot, Righton Bird, The San Francisco Earthquake
- The Muppet Movie: Gonzo, Zoot, Doglion, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew,
- The Great Muppet Caper: Gonzo, Zoot, Beauregard, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew,
- The Muppets Take Manhattan: Bill, Chester Rat, Gonzo, Zoot, Beauregard, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Penguin, Dog
- Inner Tube: Jake
- The Jim Henson Hour: Digit, Gonzo, Oznog
- The Muppet Christmas Carol: Betina Cratchit, Gonzo (as Charles Dickens), Waldorf (as Robert Marley), Whatnots, Pigs
- Muppet Treasure Island: Gonzo, Waldorf (as Figurehead of the Hispaniola), Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (as Dr. Livesay, Zoot
- A Muppet Family Christmas: Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Boober Fraggle, Uncle Traveling Matt, Zoot, Beauregard, Chester Rat
- Muppets Tonight: Artie, Baby Kramer, Bill the Bubble Guy, Bud, Cupid, Dr. Pain, Elvises, Gary Cahuenga, Jean-Dodd van Clamme, Morty, Purple Rain Man, Randy Pig, Stu, Gonzo, Waldorf
- Muppets from Space: The Birdman, The Swedish Chef, Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot
- Fraggle Rock: Boober Fraggle, Clerk Fraggle, Large Marvin, Philo, Uncle Traveling Matt, 7-Words-Max, Sidebottom, Skenfrith, World's Oldest Fraggle, Wrench Doozer
- The Christmas Toy: Rugby Tiger
- The Dark Crystal: Fizzgig, Skekung (both puppetry only)
- Labyrinth: Fireys Firey 3, Left Door Knocker, One of The Four Guards, Sir Didymus, Wiseman's Hat (all puppetry only)
- Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas: Wendell Porcupine, Will Possum, Pop-eyed Catfish
- The Animal Show: Stinky the Skunk
- Dinosaurs: Earl Sinclair (face, through Episode 207), Grapdelite ("Species Endangered Species"), General Chow (puppeteer, "When Food Goes Bad")
- Bear in the Big Blue House: Jack the Dog ("A Berry Bear Christmas part 1 and 2")
- Muppet Sing-A-Long: It's Not Easy Being Green: Otto the Octopus, Gonzo, Wendell Porcupine (both archived material)
- Muppet Meeting Films: Big Mean Carl, Franklin ("The Meeting That Would Not Die"), Mulligan, Smerdley
- The Secret Life of Toys: Rugby Tiger
- Wow, You're a Cartoonist!: Gonzo
- The Muppets at Walt Disney World: Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beauregard, Zoot
- Muppet*Vision 3D: Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot
- Muppet Classic Theater: Gonzo, Randy Pig
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland: Humongous Chicken
- Muppet Race Mania: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard
- Kermit's Swamp Years: Waldorf
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot
- Muppets Party Cruise: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Digit, Andy Pig
- Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony: Waldorf
- Kermit: A Frog's Life: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, (also archive footage as Waldorf)
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz: Gonzo (as the Tin Thing), Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Waldorf (as a Kalidah Critic), Zoot
- The Muppet Show: Season One main menus: Waldorf
- The Muppets on Muppets: Gonzo
- Disney Extreme Digital: Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Waldorf, Penguins, Singing Food, Beauregard
- Virmup: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beauregard], Pumpkins, Rabbits
- Studio DC: Almost Live!: Gonzo, Zoot, Waldorf
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot
- Bohemian Rhapsody: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard
- Christmas in Rockefeller Center: Gonzo & Zoot
- The Muppets: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard
- Muppets Most Wanted: Gonzo, Waldorf, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard