A Chorus Line Wiki

Fran Brill (b. September 30, 1946) is an American retired actress and puppeteer, best known for her roles on Sesame Street, as well as playing Sally Hayes in the Hal Ashby film Being There, Dana Mardukas in the Martin Brest film Midnight Run and Lily Marvin in the Frank Oz film What About Bob?.

Fran Brill has never worked for A Chorus Line.

Connection with A Chorus Line[]

Fran Brill provided the puppetry/voice for the number 1 as a Muppet for Sesame Street's cover of the song "One".

The music track was rerecorded for the song's inclusion on 123 Count with Me, with Ivy Austin replacing Brill's vocals.


Early Life[]

Fran Brill was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and is a native of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Joe Brill. Her father was a physician. She is a graduate of Boston University College of Fine Arts. Her early experience in acting came when she was 15 and performed in summer stock theater.

Puppetry Career[]

At age 24, Fran Brill was hired as the first female puppeteer to work for Jim Henson's TV projects (the second, counting Jim's wife Jane Henson), starting with Sesame Street, where her characters include Zoe, Prairie Dawn, Little Bird, Polly Darton, and Roxie Marie. She next puppeteered in "The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence" as Janice, Doris (the Oh-Really Bird), the first sow, and the prototype Miss Piggy. Other shows where Fran Brill is credited as puppeteer include The Jim Henson Hour (as Vicky, et al), The Cosby Show, and Dog City.

When Brill was not a puppeteer, she made various cameos in some Jim Henson puppet shows, including Beebe Beara and Nurse Rime.

Acting Career[]

Before being a puppeteer, Brill began her career in theater, making her Broadway debut portraying a student leader in Red, White and Maddox (1969). Her other theatrical roles include leads at the Roundabout Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons and many regional theaters including the Long Wharf, Yale Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, the Mark Taper Forum and the Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has been nominated twice for a Drama Desk Award, for What Every Woman Knows (1976) and for Knuckle (1981), respectively.

From 1974-1975, Brill played Fran Bachman on NBC's daytime drama How to Survive a Marriage. Her character struggled with sudden widowhood, and Brill received many condolence letters. Brill was also featured in episodes of The Guiding Light, All My Children, The Edge of Night, Lip Service and Kate and Allie.

In 1975, Brill portrayed first lady Rachel Jackson in First Ladies' Diaries on NBC-TV. She has also guest-starred on nighttime dramas such as Third Watch, Against the Law, Law & Order, and Law & Order: SVU.

She has one known animation credit when she guest starred as Elisa and Eliza Stitch in Courage the Cowardly Dog.

She has also made commercials, preferring to do voiceovers rather than appearing on-camera, and has appeared in such films as Being There, What About Bob?, Midnight Run, and City Hall.

Retirement and Current Life[]

In 2014, Brill announced that she was retiring from puppeteering on Sesame Street. Brill returned five years later for the 50th Anniversary Celebration with a guest cameo. She now has her own personal website.