Original Muppeteer Jerry Nelson Has Died

Jerry Nelson, one of the original Muppeteers hired by Jim Henson, died yesterday (August 23rd 2012). Even though you might not recognize the name, all of you have grown up with Jerry’s performances. He puppeteered almost 1,000 named Henson puppet characters during his 47-year career, credited for performing over 120 different named characters on The Muppet Show, and almost double that on Sesame Street.

Jerry was fighting with various health issues for the last decade, and in 2004 announced he would no longer be puppeteering full-time (although he continued to provide the voice for his Sesame Street characters into the recent seasons). Tough Pigs broke the news.

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This is hardly new, but now that The Muppets have a good many new fans thanks to last year’s film, it is worth going back to. Jim Henson‘s early video pitch for the original incarnation of The Muppet Show has been floating around for quite a while, and can be found in at least one or two DVD releases.

But for those who haven’t seen the pitch, and therefore may not quite have a handle on Jim Henson’s irreverent spirit, this two minutes is very much worth watching. And those who have seen it will probably want to watch again, because as the Henson-voiced Muppet pitchman escalates in intensity, he hits notes comic notes that are irresistible. Read More »

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