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A New York City kid from a modest home, Rhoda Mann taught herself to work marionettes at age 9. Her first job in show business was working as assistant to Ali Benali, the Moroccan Wonderman, aka Henry Gross of the Bronx.


At 20 she was supporting her family as the master puppeteer on Howdy Doody – although she later learned she was being paid as an extra after AFTRA was formed and she sued the network successfully for years of back pay – a whopping $4,000! She was the first woman on the set permitted to wear pants -- she worked the Howdy puppet on 12 foot long strings from a bridge swaying above the studio floor. Mann was the first woman to do voice-over for a car commercial in the 1960’s.



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