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Jerry Nelson
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Puppeteer
    (July 10, 1934-August 23, 2012)
    Raised in Washington, D.C.
    Operated Robin, Floyd, Dr. Strangepork, Pops, Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand and Camilla on ‘The Muppet Show’ and in many Muppet films
    Operated the Count and Harry Monster on ‘Sesame Street (1970-2012)’
    Operated puppets in ‘Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977),’ ‘The Dark Crystal (1982)’ and ‘Fraggle Rock (1983-1987)’
    Acted in ‘Robocop 2 (1990)’
    He was a failed musician.
    When he auditioned for Jim Henson, he imitated Kermit the Frog’s voice, which pissed Henson off.
    He described himself as a ‘cantankerous old guy.’
    He thought the Muppets should have been marketed more for adults than for kids.
    He served in the army during the Korean War.
    Jim Henson originally hired him as a temporary replacement for Frank Oz, but he liked him enough to give him a permanent position.
    He became one of Henson’s core team of performers.
    He would get star-struck around ‘Muppet Show’ guests like Peter Sellers, Jonathan Winters and Dizzy Gillespie.
    He was one of the only ‘Sesame Street’ puppeteers from the 1970s who worked for the show in the 2000s.
    He said the only thing that’s dated about old episodes of ‘Sesame Street’ is the haircuts.

Credit: Wieland Kalligaro


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