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Camille Bonora appreciation thread

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Princeton, May 18, 2015.

  1. Princeton

    Princeton Well-Known Member

    Man, talk about an underrated performer! She performed on basically every American/Canadian Muppet production launched in the 1980's (with the exception of FR) and then just kinda disappeared; I'd be interested to learn where she wound up. Hands down, my favorite of her characters is Meteora from "The Christmas Toy". So, who else loves Camille?
  2. RowlfFan12

    RowlfFan12 Active Member

    Just found this, and I agree! I love all of the characters that Camille performed, notably Twitch, Jojo, Miss Belle, and Kai-Lee. I too wonder what she is up to these days.
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Of the female performers, she was certainly one of the more versatile ones the Muppets had, and I agree, I wonder whatever happened to her after the early 90s. It's kind of like with Brian Meehl: he was a great and versatile performer, then he just up and left (and different sources cite different reasons).
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I did start a Camille Bonora appreciation thread a few months ago, nobody seemed to reply to it though.

    Camille sure was a great performer. I like the little girl voices she did, for such characters as Kai-Lee and Ruby Monster. And I like the more pompous voices, like the one for Meteora. After recently watching some of her on-screen appearances, I've noticed that she was really cute.

    It's a shame that while she had many characters, none of them are really well-known, with the exception of Clementine (even then, segments with Brian Meehl or Kevin Clash as that character are more widely out there than with Camille Bonora) and maybe Goldilocks. I'd like to think that Ruby was her signature character, even though she was only around for a few years (and how many casual fans remember her outside of the "Guys and Dolls" segment?). I mean, she had notable main characters on a television series that was canceled after three episodes (Little Muppet Monsters) and a main character on a video series that has been out of print for years (Jim Henson's Play-Along Video). Most of her Sesame Street characters pretty much only lasted a few years. She seems to have been limited on The Jim Henson Hour, only performing in a few segments on MuppeTelevision (was she on set for the whole episodes, or just for the Hurting Something segments and her on-screen appearance in Gorilla Television?) and being more active in the specials.

    And it seems like we know next to nothing about her, behind-the-scenes-wise (in the 40th anniversary book, it's said that she taught an acting class that Joey Mazzarino attended, which led to him being on the show). I wonder if she might be one of those performers Caroll Spinney mentioned who quit because they didn't get any recognition from it (because I don't know any speciffic performers who did, most of the ones who stopped performing we know why, and many of those who we don't did go on to puppeteer outside of the Muppets).
  5. Xerus

    Xerus Well-Known Member

    There was an 80's Rankin/Bass cartoon called Tigersharks where Camille voiced all the female characters.
  6. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure. I think he hinted that may have been the reason why Brian Meehl left the Muppets, though Brian himself said that television work has far too much downtime between actual taping/filming and that you don't get paid for it, so that wasn't working out for him.

    Similarly, there's conflicting rumors regarding why John Lovelady left as well, though the common one has it that he wasn't particularly happy with Jim feeling he was more useful coordinating other builder and performers rather than building/performing himself. Interestingly enough, John L. also went on to work on THE GREAT SPACE COASTER (with Kermit Love and pre-Henson Kevin Clash, Jim Martin, Pam Arciero, and Noel MacNeil), but ended up leaving that show to. He also worked on Sid & Marty Kroffts' D.C. FOLLIES.

    Not entirely sure why Camille stopped working with the Muppets, but again, it's a shame she didn't stick around, because it seems any end of the Muppet spectrum (SST or Classic Muppets) are always in need of more female performers. I mean, let's face it, in SST's case, almost all female characters seem to be dumped on Leslie, and while Leslie's a stellar performer, admittedly her range is limited and almost all her characters sound like variations of Abby (but then again, almost all the one-shot AMs Frank performed sounded like variations of Bert).
  7. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Really, you don't get paid for it? Reportedly Richard Hunt was happy with how much he made on his first paycheck (not even expecting to make that much), and Martin Robinson has said that working for the Muppets was the first time he ever had his own money. And of course Caroll Spinney took a pay cut when he started, but that's still making money.

    And I always find it interesting that he left the Muppets to become a writer, yet he did continue to perform (usually outside of Sesame Street), having regular roles on Dog City and the non-Henson Eureeka's Castle, as well as performing in the occasional production here and there.
  8. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The thing about performers is that they're pretty much paid as freelancers, and in SST's case, they only work for a certain number of months out of the year(usually four, I believe): that doesn't necessarily pay all the bills. Prior to working for the Muppets, Caroll Spinney tried to get work with Walt Disney. Caroll was able to get in touch with Clarence "Ducky" Nash . . . who was out making deliveries, upon which Ducky Nash explained to him that they only make one new Donald Duck cartoon like every 18 months or so, and he only gets paid so much for it that he has to make a living one way or another.

    Turning to writing probably was a more feasible route for Brian, considering job security is usually more stable behind the camera rather than in front.
  9. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Hopefully this thread won't get too off-topic, but...

    Muppet Wiki has a quote from Brian Meehl about why he left, which doesn't say anything about lack of recognition or money. It does say that one of his reasons for leaving was because he wasn't seeing his wife and kids enough (in fact, there's an interview with Frank Oz where he said something similar in his decision to focus less on the Muppets after becoming a director). I used to think it was odd that Meehl said that one of the downsides was all the downtime - I would have thought that having more freetime during work would have been a good thing - but a few years ago I realized it meant working on a movie or series involves a lot of waiting time on the set/location where one isn't really needed, time that could be spent with family.

    It's also a little interesting regarding the limited work when performing even on a regular series. Kermit Love talked Kevin Clash out of leaving The Great Space Coaster and Captain Kangaroo for The Dark Crystal because series work is steady work. I also wonder how well a Muppet performer could live on residuals. I'm sure there's some productions where residuals have expired (Terry Angus has said that all residuals he's entitled to from Henson expired a long time ago), but I think I've heard that everyone who's worked on Sesame Street is still entitled to residuals from their past work (though Caroll Spinney didn't get residuals for his work on the Sesame Street albums or Follow That Bird). In the past day I've been thinking about starting a thread about residuals, I guess I'll post more on the subject if I start that thread.

    I think that's all the non-Camille Bonora stuff I have to say in this post.

    Now I wonder if Jim Henson noted his hiring of Camille in his red book. I don't think such a thing has been noted on the red book site, but if it's in the book, if the date is noted they very well could include an article about the hiring. Or maybe there has been one and I didn't see it (it's been over a year since I last read the website regularly, as it seems to have frequently repeated entries in the past year).
    backpackmina likes this.
  10. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

  11. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

  12. antsamthompson9

    antsamthompson9 Well-Known Member

    My thinking is she missed Jim so much.
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Before they shut down Muppet Wiki's YT channel, they had a clip of Camille's one-screen cameo from an unaired episode of JHH in which Zondra and Ubu had her held hostage to demonstrate how anybody would buy anything -even if it isn't particularly good for your health- just because they see it advertised on TV. Unfortunately, Ubu got suckered in too.
  14. Pig's Laundry

    Pig's Laundry Well-Known Member

    Here's a somewhat recent interview with Camille. In it she talks about her whole career as well as her spiritual life. She goes by Camille Kampouris now. It's pretty cool considering how rare it is we get to hear from her:
    MikaelaMuppet and MuppetSpot like this.

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