Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.

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Ross Bagdasarian, Jr.
Born Ross Dickran Bagdasarian
(1949-10-25) October 25, 1949 (age 64)
Fresno, California, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Voice actor, film producer, record producer, singer
Years active 1978-present
Spouse(s) Janice Karman (m. 1979)
Children Two

Ross Dickran Bagdasarian, Jr. (born October 25, 1949) is an American film producer, record producer, singer, and voice artist. He is the son of the Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

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[edit]

After his father's death in 1972,[3] 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."[3] 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.[3]

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[edit]

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.[4] 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'."[3]

2007 film[edit]

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 US theatres December 14, 2007. Bagdasarian was originally set to portray David Seville; however, the studio thought that he was too old at 58 for the part and brought in actor Jason Lee instead. They also decided to use actors Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney to voice the Chipmunks instead of Bagdasarian and his wife, although the couple does still do the singing parts in the movie.[5]

Personal life[edit]

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

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1987 The Chipmunk Adventure Yes Yes Yes Alvin
Simon
Dave Seville
1999 Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein Yes Yes Direct-to-video
2000 Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman Yes Yes
2005 Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks Yes Yes
2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks Yes Yes Yes Alvin
Simon
Songwriter
2009 Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Yes Yes
2011 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Yes Yes
2015 Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 Yes Yes

Television[edit]

Year Title Producer Writer Actor Role Notes
1981 A Chipmunk Christmas Yes Yes Yes Alvin
Simon
Dave Seville
TV movie
1983–1990 Alvin and the Chipmunks Yes Yes Yes
1984 I Love the Chipmunks Valentine Special Yes Yes Yes TV movie
1985 A Chipmunk Reunion Yes Yes Yes
1990 Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue Yes Alvin
Simon
TV short
Rockin' Through the Decades Yes Yes Yes Alvin
Simon
Dave Seville
TV movie
1994 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Trick or Treason Yes Yes Yes
A Chipmunk Celebration Yes Yes Yes
1995 The Easter Chipmunk Yes Yes Yes

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keates, Nancy (September 9, 2011). "Luxury Real Estate: The House Built by 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ o (December 21, 2007). "Chipmunks legacy is a family affair - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pearson, Ryan (December 14, 2007). "The Chipmunks have a very close family". The Providence Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ "'Chipmunks' Creators Sue Universal". New York Times. September 14, 2000. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]

External links[edit]