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Paul Finley Zaloom
Born December 14, 1951 (1951-12-14) (age 58)
Garden City, New York New York United States
Occupation Puppeteer and Actor

Paul Finley Zaloom (born 14 December 1951 in Garden City, Long Island) is an American actor and puppeteer best known for his role as the character Beakman on the television show Beakman's World.



Paul Zaloom began his entertainment career at Goddard College with artists in residence the Bread and Puppet Theater, a troupe specializing in self-invented, home-made theater. One of their performance locations was Coney Island, where Zaloom is said to have given advice to the "unofficial Mayor of Coney Island", Dick Zigun, on how to bring in the crowds. In his solo work he utilizes found-object animation, in which he takes objects as varied as coffee pots and humidifiers and turns them into elements of political satire. His personal politics are liberal; he has referred to Elizabeth Dole and Margaret Thatcher as "right wing nut jobs." He has also been a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy since the early 1980s, having helped to lead a disarmament march during the Cold War.

In 1992 Zaloom starred in the cable TV children's science program Beakman's World. The show moved to CBS in 1993 and aired for four seasons. Zaloom has also written, designed and performed eleven full length one-man shows, including Fruit of Zaloom, Sick But True, Mighty Nice, and The Mother of All Enemies, the latter a shadow-puppet show featuring traditional Middle-Eastern comic puppet character Karagoz. His latest effort tackles social issues such as privacy, the war on terrorism, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and ethnicity. Aside from shadow puppetry, Zaloom's idiosyncratic work utilizes techniques such as overhead projection, government document expose, cantastoria picture performance, toy theater, as well as hand, rod, found object, and dummy puppets.

Paul Zaloom has produced two films; the first is a mockumentary entitled In Smog and Thunder: The Great War of the Californias, recounting a fictional war between Los Angeles and San Francisco, released in 2003. The second film, Dante's Inferno, is a retelling of the poet Dante's journey through hell, set in Los Angeles and

Paul Zaloom performing Mighty Nice

performed in a style of puppetry called toy theater that uses paper cutouts for puppets and sets. Zaloom co-wrote the script and was head puppeteer and performed multiple voices for the film. Both films feature the artwork of Sandow Birk.

Zaloom has performed his work across the U.S. at many types of venues, including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Walker Arts Center, Spoleto Festival USA, UCLA Performing Arts Series, the American Repertory Theater, L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art, King Tut's Wah-Wah Hut, and hundreds of others. He’s also played the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Les Semaines de la Marionette in Paris, the UNIMA World Congress in Dresden, Vienna Festival and many others on 9 international tours. Zaloom has received a Village Voice Obie Award, an American Theater Wing Design Award, New York Dance and Performance Award (the “Bessie”), LA Weekly Theater Award, and 4 Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from UNIMA-USA. He’s also been granted a Guggenheim Fellowship, four Jim Henson Foundation grants, a COLA Fellowship, four National Endowment for the Arts grants, to name a few.

He has taught puppetry and cantastoria at colleges and universities in the US and Europe, including Cal Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, Emerson College, the Omega Institute, George Mason University, the University of Michigan, and the Institut Internationale de la Marrionnette, Charlesville, France, amongst others. He continues to perform as Beakman in Beakman Live! stage shows, and is involved in any number of artistic projects as an advisor and mentor.

Personal life

Zaloom is openly gay[1] and has a daughter, Amanda Israel Finley, with ex-wife Jayne Israel[2].


External links



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