I was shocked and very sad to learn that Oklahoma Puppeteer Andrew Agee – who often went by the name “The Puppet Man” – sadly passed away on July 4th. He was just 35 years old.
Although I didn’t know him well, I knew Andrew and his work through the internet and our paths had crossed online on a few occasions over the years. He was a very talented puppeteer who seemed to have a special gift for bringing to life female hand and rod puppets, a skill that any experienced puppeteer will tell you is not nearly as easy as you might think.
Agee had fallen in love with Jim Henson’s Muppets as a child.
“He saw his first ‘Muppet Show’ on TV, and he was just drawn to it,” his brother Ben Agee said, adding that every time he heard the show’s theme song he’d start dancing.
Fuel for his “unbelievable imagination,” he added, “puppets became Andrew’s whole life.”
Turning his room at home into a shrine to Kermit, Gonzo and the rest of the gang, Agee also started making his own puppets and, teaching himself the art, staging his own shows.
He started with church, where he did puppets for a teen ministry program, and school talent shows.
From there, he took his act to much bigger stages…”He was a full-time entertainer,” his brother said. “Even off stage, he was on stage – Andrew’s stage. You never knew what he was going to do or say. He was a bright light everywhere he was.”
His mother, Marcella Agee, agreed, adding, “From the beginning, this kid was his own person, and nobody was going to change that.”
A memorial service for Andrew was held last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Friends and family have been sharing memories of Andrew and tributes to him on his personal Facebook Page.
Rest in peace Andrew.