Toby Froud has grown up — a lot — since he was the baby in the stripey pyjamas in the cult classic Labyrinth. Froud, who became a puppeteer in real life, posted a tribute on Facebook to Labyrinth star David Bowie a few days after the iconic singer’s death.
“This week the world lost an amazing man, one that was so impactful on so many of our lives, the art he contributed to this world touches us all on so many levels, I wish I had been able to meet him as an adult. RIP David Bowie forever the Goblin King.”
In June 2014, Froud told Portland Monthly that he peed on Bowie when the two first met — or so he understands.
“I grew up a huge fan of his music—and knowing I sat in his lap! I believe the first time I met him, I peed on him, but I haven’t met him since.”
Although it may seem like a strange twist of fate that a baby cast in a movie populated with puppets would grow up to work with them, it’s actually expected in Froud’s case. His parents, Wendy and Brian Froud, are fantasy illustrators and puppet makers with impeccable credentials. Both worked on Labyrinth. Wendy made Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back and Brian’s illustrations were the basis of The Dark Crystal, which was, like Labyrinth, a Jim Henson effort.
The Froud family attended a 20th anniversary screening of Labyrinth in 2006, along with Gates McFadden, who is perhaps best known to television audiences as Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation. McFadden was a choreographer on Labyrinth and look to Twitter to express her emotions at Bowie’s passing.
Sorrow and great sadness. David Bowie’s has died.
— Gates McFadden (@gates_mcfadden) January 11, 2016
McFadden retweeted a picture from the set of Labyrinth that included her standing between Bowie and Jim Henson. The master puppeteer died in 1990, a few short years after Labyrinth‘s 1986 release.
Thanks for sharing this shot. In between two amazing artists!! https://t.co/49zY0ubvWO
— Gates McFadden (@gates_mcfadden) January 14, 2016
— Tekla Vassie (@TeklaVassie) January 14, 2016
When Portland Monthly asked Toby Froud to name his favorite scene and song from Labyrinth, he had some surprising answers. Neither involved himself as a youngster. His favorite song was “As the World Falls Down,” which was the backdrop of a dream sequence between Bowie and the film’s star, Jennifer Connelly.
Showing Froud’s insight into filmmaking, he said his favorite scene was when Hoggle was with Connelly’s character, Sarah, in the Oubliette. He opens the door one way, it’s a broom closet, and another way, it’s an exit. Froud called it “a wonderful piece of live action timing, done right in front of the camera.”
Connelly spoke with Entertainment Tonight after Bowie’s death, and had generous things to say about one of her early co-stars. The actress, who would go on to win an Academy Award for her turn in A Beautiful Mind, called Bowie “a genius who had the time to be kind. [That] was my experience of him.”
Although Froud may not remember it, a CBC report says that Bowie was happy while filming Labyrinth and entertained young Toby with puppet shows between takes.
[Photo via A Much Deeper Level]