Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.

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Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
BornRoss Dickran Bagdasarian
(1949-10-25) October 25, 1949 (age 63)
Fresno, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationVoice actor, film producer, record producer, singer
Years active1978—present
Spouse(s)Janice Karman (m. 1980)
 
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Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
BornRoss Dickran Bagdasarian
(1949-10-25) October 25, 1949 (age 63)
Fresno, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationVoice actor, film producer, record producer, singer
Years active1978—present
Spouse(s)Janice Karman (m. 1980)

Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. (born Ross Dickran Bagdasarian;[1] October 25, 1949)[1] is an American film producer, record producer, singer, and voice artist and the son of the Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.

Contents

Early life

Bagdasarian was born in Fresno, California, the son of Armen (née Kulhanjian) and Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. He is of Armenian descent. As a child, Bagadasarian Jr. worked with his father on The Alvin Show by helping edit and coordinate the soundtracks and falsetto voice overs of The Chipmunks.

Career

After his father's untimely death in 1972 (Ross Sr. was found dead of a heart attack),[2] Bagdasarian succeeded him as the main owner of the Chipmunks productions, which had fallen into obscurity after significant success between 1958 and the late 1960s. He heads Bagdasarian Productions with his singer-manager wife Janice Karman. They married in 1979.

Ross, Jr., a law school graduate, was surprised to find himself following in Ross Sr.'s footsteps. “I revered my dad, but I didn’t want to do what he had done. That was his creation. Had he remained alive, I never would have done this. But when he died suddenly, it was a way of keeping my dad alive, and keeping what he created alive."[2] Under his supervision, new Chipmunks records were created in 1979, shortly after marrying Janice Karman including Chipmunk Punk. In 1981, the Chipmunks returned to television in the cartoon special A Chipmunk Christmas. Three years later, Ruby-Spears Productions' Alvin and the Chipmunks Saturday morning cartoon series debuted on NBC. Based on that series, a feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure was released in 1987. Ross Jr. sings and speaks the parts of Alvin, Simon, and Dave Seville. Janice Karman provides those of Theodore and The Chipettes: Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor.

Bagdasarian and Karman hold tight creative and financial control over the Chipmunk franchise, reviewing each and every business contract in great detail. “You don’t protect what you’ve created unless you know the business side of it,” he has said. “We’ve all heard these horror stories of these really talented people having their work stolen out from under them. I wasn’t willing to be one of those people.” In the mid-90s, Bagdasarian bought the Chipmunk rights from brother Adam and a sister (a stay-at-home mother), to take complete control.[2]

From 1984 to the present he has used the name Alvin Chipmunk as a solo recording pseudonym, as many Chipmunk albums made during this time listed the band’s name as Alvin and the Chipmunks, as opposed to Ross Sr.’s albums, in which the default group name was David Seville and the Chipmunks.

Universal Pictures lawsuit

Bagdasarian licensed the rights to the Chipmunk characters to Universal Pictures in 1996, resulting in a string of Universal-produced direct-to-video films. Four years later, he and wife Janice Karman sued them for breach of contract, claiming that Universal failed to properly utilize, market, and merchandise the characters and hence resulting in a loss of royalties to Bagdasarian.[3] The case was decided in Bagdasarian's favor. “For us, it was a custody battle”, wife Janice Karman said. “They finally realized ‘OK, these two are really fighting for their kids'."[2]

2007 film

In 2007, Bagdasarian produced the movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks, based on the cartoon and featuring computer-animated Chipmunks and a live-action David Seville, portrayed by Jason Lee. The film was developed by 20th Century Fox. The movie was released in U.S. theatres December 14, 2007. Bagdasarian was originally set to portray David Seville; however, due to his age (58 at the time of filming), the younger Lee was chosen. Initially, Bagdasarian and his wife portrayed Alvin, Simon and Theodore in the film, but were replaced at the studio's insistence with younger actors Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney respectively (However, Bagdasarian Jr. does provide Alvin's singing voice.)[4]

Personal life

Bagdasarian and Karman have two children: a daughter, Vanessa (b. 1986), and a son, Michael (b. January 19, 1990). They currently reside in Montecito, California.

References

  1. ^ a b According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0046559/
  2. ^ a b c d Pearson, Ryan (December 14, 2007). "The Chipmunks have a very close family". The Providence Journal. AP. http://www.projo.com/movies/content/lb_Chipmunk_creator_12-14-07_GH87SDE_v8.fcee91.html. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  3. ^ nytimes.com
  4. ^ thestate.com

External links