Hervé Villechaize (April 23rd, 1943 – September 4th, 1993) was a French-born dwarf actor best known for his portrayal of Tattoo on the TV series Fantasy Island. On Sesame Street, in the 1970s, Villechaize performed Oscar the Grouch as a pair of legs peeping out from Oscar's trash can, for scenes which required the Grouch to be mobile. These appearances began in season 2 & included the 1978 Hawaii episodes.
Caroll Spinney, Oscar's regular performer, once recalled the Grouch's other half:
"The first time he [Oscar] got to move around was when one of the writers had the idea of cutting the bottom of the can & making legs out of Oscar's green fur. A little person would be needed to get in this costume, & the man for the job was Hervé Villechaize, who I got to know. Later Hervé became famous for the role of Tattoo on Fantasy Island, but I had actually 1st seen him in a very strange play at Manhattan's La Mama Theater, in which he was riding around on a tall, skinny guy who was making chicken sounds. Hervé was an intellectual, very thoughtful, & quite an artist."
Outside of Fantasy Island & Sesame Street, Villechaize played Nick Nack, the murderous henchman to Scaramanga, in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. His other movie credits included such varied titles as The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight (with Paul Benedict), Seizure, Forbidden Zone, & Airplane II: The Sequel. His brother, Patrick, directed episodes of the French co-production of Fraggle Rock.
Hervé, in the early morning hours of September 4, 1993, shot himself at his home. He was found by his longtime girlfriend, Kathy Self, and rushed to the Medical Center at North Hollywood, California. He died later that day as a result of his injuries at age 50. Villechaize left a suicide note saying he was despondent over longtime health problems.
- Sesame Street: Oscar the Grouch (as a pair of legs peeping out from Oscar's trash can for scenes which required the Grouch to be mobile.)