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April 13, 1932|
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
April 9, 1997 (aged 64)|
New York City, New York, U.S.
Williams College (BA)|
Yale University (MFA)
|Spouse(s)||Beverley Owen (1964–1974)|
Jon Stone (April 13, 1932 – April 9, 1997) was an American writer, director and producer, who was best known for being an original crew member on Sesame Street and is credited with helping develop characters such as Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird. Stone won 18 television Emmy Awards Many regard him as one of the best children's television writers.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Stone graduated from Williams College in 1952. He received a master's degree from the Yale University School of Drama in 1955, at which time he joined a CBS training program. It was then that Stone began his work in children's television, as a writer for Captain Kangaroo before moving on to Sesame Street as writer and executive producer. He also worked on several other Muppet projects before and during his time on Sesame Street, and was the author of several children's books, particularly The Monster at the End of This Book, published by Random House as a Little Golden Book.
Producing and writing
Stone's earliest association with Jim Henson came in 1965, working on fairy tale projects with writer Tom Whedon, such as a proposed Snow White series. This was turned into a Cinderella pilot, which was shot in October of that year but never aired, and eventually became Hey, Cinderella!. Stone also appeared in Henson's 1967 short film Ripples, as an introspective architect.
In 1968, Stone brought Henson and Joe Raposo (who also worked on Hey, Cinderella!) to the attention of the Children's Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop) president Joan Ganz Cooney when she started putting together Sesame Street. He wrote the pilot script, and was one of the three original producers of the program; he later served as an executive producer for many years.
Stone died in New York, on April 9, 1997 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), four days before his 65th birthday. Posthumously, a memorial bench on the Literary Walk in Central Park was dedicated to Stone. The bench is located directly to the right of a bench dedicated to Jim Henson. In his New York Times obituary, Joan Ganz Cooney describes Stone as "probably the most brilliant writer of children's television material in America." Season 29 of Sesame Street was dedicated in his memory.
- Obituary: Jon Stone, Helmore, Edward, The Independent. April 22, 1997.