List of Sesame Street Muppets
The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson, many for the purpose of appearing on the children's television program Sesame Street. Henson's involvement in Sesame Street began when he and Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the creators of the show, met in the summer of 1968, at one of the show's five three-day curriculum planning seminars in Boston. Author Christopher Finch reported that director Jon Stone, who had worked with Henson previously, felt that if they could not bring him on board, they should "make do without puppets".
Henson was initially reluctant, but agreed to join Sesame Street in support of its social goals. He also agreed to waive his performance fee for full ownership of the Sesame Street Muppets and to split any revenue they generated with the Children's Television Workshop (renamed to the Sesame Workshop in 2000), the series' non-profit producer. The Muppets were a crucial part of the show's popularity and it brought Henson national attention. The Muppet segments of the show were popular since its premiere, and more Muppets were added during the first few seasons. The Muppets were effective teaching tools because children easily recognized them, they were stereotypical and predictable, and they appealed to adults and older siblings.
During the production of Sesame Street's first season, producers created five one-hour episodes to test the show's appeal to children and examine their comprehension of the material. Not intended for broadcast, they were presented to preschoolers in 60 homes throughout Philadelphia and in day care centers in New York City in July 1969. The results were "generally very positive"; children learned from the shows, their appeal was high, and children's attention was sustained over the full hour. However, the researchers found that although children's attention was high during the Muppet segments, their interest wavered during the "Street" segments, when no Muppets were on screen. This was because the producers had followed the advice of child psychologists who were concerned that children would be confused if human actors and Muppets were shown together. As a result of this decision, the appeal of the test episodes was lower than the target.
The Street scenes were "the glue" that "pulled the show together", so producers knew they needed to make significant changes. The producers decided to reject the advisers' advice and reshot the Street segments; Henson and his coworkers created Muppets that could interact with the human actors, specifically Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird, who became two of the show's most enduring characters. These test episodes were directly responsible for what writer Malcolm Gladwell called "the essence of Sesame Street—the artful blend of fluffy monsters and earnest adults". Since 2001, the full rights for the Muppets created for Sesame Street have been owned by Sesame Workshop.
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|Abby Cadabby||Leslie Carrara-Rudolph||(2007–present) A three-year-old fairy-in-training with tiny wings, a magic wand, and sparkles in her hair. She was created to increase the number of the female Sesame Street Muppets. Daughter of the fairy godmother (who is spoken about but never seen), she "has her own point of view and is comfortable with the fact that she likes wearing a dress".|
|Alice Snuffleupagus||Judy Sladky||(1988–1998) Baby sister of Aloysius Snuffleupagus ("Snuffy"). She has "luxurious, pale-golden fur", long eyelashes, and a blue-checkered hair ribbon, and was introduced to model sibling rivalry. She was one of the first Muppets controlled by remote control.|
|Alistair Cookie||Frank Oz (1978–2001)||Played by Cookie Monster, he is a parody of British broadcaster Alistair Cooke. and appears in the "Monsterpiece Theater" sketch (a parody of Masterpiece Theater). At first, he used a pipe that he would eat in each segment. The pipe was eventually removed because according to executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente, it "modeled the wrong behavior".|
|(The) Amazing Mumford||Jerry Nelson||(1971–present) A "W.C. Fields-esque" magician whose magic tricks often go awry. His catchphrase, used to produce his tricks, is "À la peanut butter sandwiches".|
|Anything Muppets||Various performers||(1969–73) Writer Christopher Finch called Anything Muppets "unadorned puppet torsos and heads" used for a single role or purpose. This ever-expanding troupe of Muppets comes in all shapes, sizes, and appearances. The Anything Muppets portray humans, specific animals, and occasional aliens.|
|AM Monsters||Various performers||(1970–74) Short for "Anything Muppet Monsters," the AM Monsters are customizable Muppet Monsters like the Anything Muppets and the Whatnots from The Muppet Show. Like the Anything Muppets, the AM Muppets come in all shapes, sizes, and appearances. According to writer Louise Gikow, Elmo started out as an AM Monster.|
|Aristotle||Richard Hunt||A blind monster created to increase inclusiveness of people and puppets with disabilities on the show. He was designed by Michael K. Frith and built by Ed Christie.|
|Arlene Frantic||Fran Brill||(1970–74) Appeared in the Sesame Street sketch "What's My Part". She was a parody of actress Arlene Francis.|
|Baby Bear||David Rudman||"The character from that Goldilocks story, in Muppet form". Rudman uses a "babyish lisp" when he voices Baby Bear.|
|Barkley||Toby Towson, Brian Muehl, Bruce Connelly||Originally named "Woof-Woof", he is a "large, friendly, shaggy dog" owned by Linda and knows a few words in American Sign Language. Barkley once traveled to China with Big Bird.|
|Beautiful Day Monster||Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney||Originally appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, this puppet was used interchangeably with Cookie Monster the first season of Sesame Street.|
|Bennett Snerf||unknown||Appeared in the Sesame Street sketch "What's My Part".|
|Benny Rabbit||Kevin Clash||The "irascible" rabbit who worked as a bellhop at the Furry Arms Hotel (which was part of the Around-the-Corner set expansion of the 1990s).|
|Bert||Frank Oz (1969–present), Eric Jacobson (1997–present)||Ernie's best friend, he collects paper clips and is fascinated by pigeons. His sketches were made by Henson and he was built by Don Sahlin.|
|Betty Lou||Lisa Buckley||Borgenicht says about her: "With her blonde braided hair, [she] is friendly and unassuming". She collects dolls of various shapes and ethnicities.|
|Biff||Jerry Nelson||One-half of the Muppet construction worker duo, Biff is an "Archie Bunker-style blue-collar loudmouth". He and his partner Sully made for a "classic comedy team". Whenever they encountered a problem, Biff would ask for Sully's opinion but interrupt him before Sully could answer; however it was Sully who inevitably came up with the solution.|
|Big Bird||Caroll Spinney (1969–present), Matt Vogel (understudy)||A large yellow bird who was developed during the 1968 curriculum seminars. Designed by Henson and built by Kermit Love and Don Sahlin, Big Bird stands at eight feet two inches, and has a slightly quirky and naive outlook on the world. Residing in a large nest alongside the "123 Sesame Street" building, he was the first Muppet to appear on the show and is intended to represent a six-year-old child who questions everything.|
|Big Jeffy||Unknown||Bearded Muppet who has performed with Little Crissie and the Alphabets and sings bass with Little Jeffy and the Monotones.|
|Bip Bippadotta||Jim Henson||The wild-haired puppet featured in the Muppet segment "Mah Nà Mah Nà".|
|Bruno the Trashman||Caroll Spinney||A trashman who sometimes carries Oscar's can around the Street. Designed by Spinney as a way to allow Oscar to move around and talk at the same time, Bruno does not talk often himself.|
|Buster the Horse||Martin P. Robinson||Forgetful Jones' horse, who often helps Forgetful get out of difficulties and remember things. Buster can also sing, drive a jeep, brush his teeth, and play the piano.|
|Captain Breakfast||Brian Muehl||He was a superhero who fought for the most important meal of the day. His insignia was a bowl of cereal.|
|Clementine||unknown||Forgetful Jones' longtime girlfriend.|
|Colambo||Joey Mazzarino||A lamb detective who is inspired by Columbo. He is "a shrewd sheep investigator who often solves cases of things gone missing" and a fairy-tale expert.|
|Cookie Monster||Frank Oz (1969–2001), David Rudman (2001–present)||According to Sesame Street Unpaved, "At first glance, Cookie Monster appears to be a monster with a one-track mind. He is deeply, emotionally, physically and spiritually attached to cookies".|
|Count von Count||Jerry Nelson (1972-2012), Matt Vogel (2012-Present)||Count von Count is a number-obsessed vampire who craves counting with a single-focused passion. He has lavender-fleece skin, bat-shaped ears, a flat black hairpiece, a red spade tongue, and wears a formal cape. Nelson based the Count's character and exaggerated European accent on Bela Lugosi's Count Dracula. His signature is organ music, lightning flashes, and thunder cracks.|
|The Countess||Camilla Bonora||(1980–84) Count von Count's girlfriend. She has a dog named Masha and is modeled after Marlene Dietrich.|
|Curly Bear||Stephanie D'Abruzzo (2003–present)||Baby Bear's little sister. Created to address the issue of sibling rivalry, Curly calls her brother "Bebo", has a very loud growl, and unlike the rest of her family, does not like porridge.|
|Deena||Karen Prell||Described as "hyper-active", Prell reported that her performance was deemed "over-the-top", so the character did not last long.|
|Dingers||unknown||Like the Honkers, the Dingers communicate only with noises.|
|Don Music||Richard Hunt||A piano-playing composer who required assistance from Kermit the Frog to complete the lyrics to his songs. When frustrated, he would say, "Oh, I'll never get it! Never, never, never!" and bang his head on the keyboard. He had a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven on his piano, and as an inside joke, a framed photo of Joe Raposo hanging on the wall.|
|Donald Grump||unknown||A Grouch who is modeled after billionaire real-estate developer Donald Trump.|
|Dr. Feel||unknown||A spoof of TV personality and author Dr. Phil McGraw.|
|Dr. Nobel Price||Brian Muehl, Kevin Clash||Price's inventions consist solely of things that were either useless (like a flying cupcake) or had already been invented. Author Louise Gikow called Price a "misguided inventor" and the "bane of reporter Kermit's existence."|
|Elizabeth||Stephanie D'Abruzzo||One of D'Abruzzo's favorite experiments, Elizabeth was a pig-tailed Muppet with a Brooklyn accent who loves the number 732 and her cat Little Murray Sparkles. D'Abruzzo said about her: "She was unlike your typical little girl characters".|
|Elmo||Brian Muehl, Richard Hunt (1985), Kevin Clash (1985–2012), Ryan Dillon (2013–present)||A furry three-and-a-half-year old red monster. It was not until Clash took over the role that Elmo became what Clash called a "phenomenon".|
|Ernestine||unknown||Ernie's baby cousin. Her laugh sounds like Ernie's laugh.|
|Ernie||Jim Henson (1969–90), Steve Whitmire (1993–2014), Billy Barkhurst (2014–Present)||Orange-colored, oval-headed, and always grinning, Ernie is a "free spirit" and a "trickster". He and best friend Bert share a basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street.|
|Farley||Jerry Nelson||A green Muppet boy with short orange spiked hair and a yellow sweater.|
|Flo Bear||David Rudman||unknown|
|Fluffy the Elephant||unknown||Oscar the Grouch's pet elephant; he sticks his trunk out of Oscar's trash can from time to time.|
|Forgetful Jones||Richard Hunt||A "simpleton cowboy". He is the "most forgetful cowboy in the Wild Wild West".|
|Frazzle||Jerry Nelson||A large orange monster Muppet with big teeth.|
|Fred the Wonder Horse||Jerry Nelson||A horse ridden by Grover and his "trusty companion". His "horse sense" is always better than Grover's, and he "usually saves the day".|
|Gladys the Cow||Richard Hunt, Jennifer Barnhart||With her "piercing operatic voice", she is "a theatrical ham (even though she's a cow)".|
|Googel||unknown||A purple monster who is a member of the Monster Clubhouse.|
|Granny Bird||unknown||Big Bird's grandmother, who watched over him when he was a little bird and who still likes to feed him. She has grey feathers on her forehead.|
|Granny Fanny Nestlerode||unknown||An old lady Muppet who appeared in season 2.|
|Grover||Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson (1992—present)||Finch calls Grover "an infinitely optimistic soul". Finch goes on to state that although Grover has a facility for self-deception, he is also honest and wise.|
|Grundgetta||Brian Muehl (1982—84), Pam Arciero (1984—present)||A Grouch who is Oscar the Grouch's "trashy girlfriend." She has Oscar's grouchy temperament and also likes everything trashy. She wears tattered hats and veils.|
|Gulliver||unknown||A seagull friend of Big Bird's, whose racism was confronted by Big Bird; inspired by and aired four months after the events of the terrorist attacks of 9-11.|
|Guy Smiley||Jim Henson, Eric Jacobson||The "enthusiastic," self-proclaimed "America's Favorite Game Show Host".|
|Harvey Kneeslapper||Frank Oz||A blonde and wild-eyed Muppet. Harvey likes telling jokes and playing pranks on others. These often involve puns, letters and numbers, and sometimes backfired on him.|
|Herbert Birdsfoot||unknown||A bespectacled Muppet. He is a lecturer who often appeared with Grover.|
|Herry Monster||Jerry Nelson||Herry is a blue and burly monster who does not know his own strength. His voice is gruff but he has a gentle heart. He appears in many unscripted scenes with children, and "is written to represent a monster with the psychological age of a six-year old".|
|Honkers||unknown||Like the Dingers, they communicate only through noises.|
|Hoots the Owl||Kevin Clash||Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman described Hoots as "the saxophone-playing jazz owl". Clash based his voice after Louie Armstrong.|
|Horatio the Elephant||Joey Mazzarino||A dancing elephant.|
|Humphrey||unknown||He and his wife Ingrid, who together are Natasha's parents, are the hotel managers of the Furry Arms Hotel which was part of the Around-the-Corner set from 1993 to 1998.|
|Ingrid||unknown||Natasha's mother. She and her husband Humphrey are the hotel managers of the Furry Arms Hotel.|
|Jamie Fox||unknown||A fox; along with Elmo and actor Jamie Foxx, he tries to figure out who is the real "Jamie Fox". They end up singing the alphabet together.|
|Julia||unknown||A female Muppet character with autism, first announced 2015.|
|Kermit the Frog||Jim Henson (1955–90), Steve Whitmire (1990—present)||A frog who is one of the first Muppets designed and built by Jim Henson. Borgenicht calls Kermit "funny, ironic, and always the voice of reason amidst the insanity around him; the calm in the eye of the storm". Gerald S. Lesser, CTW's first Advisory Board chairman, calls him "the saturnine but gentlemanly puppet frog".|
|Kingston Livingston III||Kevin Clash||A young African-American boy who is smart and cool, and who prefers to do his own thing. He is "one cool kid" who is different by just being himself.|
|Lefty the Salesman||Frank Oz||A discreet, "shady-looking salesman in a trench coat".|
|Little Bird||Fran Brill||Wise, soft-spoken little bird who is good at explaining concepts for his friend Big Bird.|
|Little Chrissy||Jim Henson (puppeteer), Christopher Cerf (voice)||The lead singer of "Little Chrissy and the Alphabeats," he was one of the earliest Muppets based upon an actual person (Cerf).|
|Little Jerry||unknown||A green Muppet who is the lead singer of the rock group "Little Jerry and the Monotones". Many of their songs were written by Jeff Moss.|
|Little Murray Sparkles||Stephanie D'Abruzzo||Elizabeth's beloved pet cat.|
|Liz Lemon||unknown||A lemon who is a parody of Tina Fey's 30 Rock character of the same name.|
|Mama Bear||Jennifer Barnhart||Baby Bear's mother.|
|Mel||Kevin Clash||A gibberish-speaking blue monster with a mop of hair and yellow horns who is a member of the Monster Clubhouse.|
|Monty||unknown||Muppet-homage to Monty Python's Flying Circus.|
|Mr. Johnson||Jerry Nelson||Also called "Fat Blue", Mr. Johnson usually appears with Grover in restaurant skits as his harried customer (usually at Charlie's Restaurant). Grover made up this rhyme about him: "In a hurry to be fed, beady eyes and big, blue head!"|
|Murray Monster||Joey Mazzarino||The host of the "Word on the Street" segment, Murray is a boisterous, red-orange Muppet.|
|Narf||Joey Mazzarino||An orange monster with a blue nose and googly eyes who is a member of the Monster Clubhouse.|
|Natasha||Kevin Clash||An infant monster who uses only baby-talk to communicate. Natasha's parents are Humphrey and Ingrid and her alter-ego is Super Baby.|
|Oscar the Grouch||Caroll Spinney||One of the first Muppets created for Sesame Street, and a "surprising success", Oscar gives kids "permission to feel grouchy—and to demonstrate differing opinions", as well as serving as a model for lessons in how to adapt to different personalities. Spinney based his voice on a New York City cab driver.|
|Ovejita||Carmen Osbahr||(2008) A little lamb, Ovejita accompanies Murray to various schools in the segment "Murray Had a Little Lamb."|
|Papa Bear||Joey Mazzarino||Baby Bear's father.|
|Phoebe||John Tartaglia||A green monster who is a member of the Monster Clubhouse.|
|Placido Flamingo||unknown||An operatic flamingo with a clear tenor voice who sings at the Nestropolitan Opera.|
|Prairie Dawn||Fran Brill (1970-2014), Stephanie D'Abruzzo (2015-present)||A little girl whose psychological age is that of a precocious three-year old, Prairie has "big dreams and a little voice".|
|Prince Charming||Frank Oz||A Muppet who resembles "Guy Smiley in prince's clothing". he is the "self-involved" prince who appears in Muppet fairy tales.|
|Professor Hastings||Frank Oz||A professor whose lectures were so dull he would fall asleep himself while giving them. According to Borgenicht, he was eventually cut from the Muppet cast because "he was, well, too dull".|
|Roosevelt Franklin||Matt Robinson (voice)||An African-American Muppet who attended Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School and was so popular, he recorded his own album. He was dropped from the show because "he was thought by some to be a negative cultural stereotype".|
|Roosevelt Franklin's Mother||Loretta Long (voice)||The mother of Roosevelt Franklin.|
|Rosita||Carmen Osbahr||The first bilingual Muppet on Sesame Street and originally conceived as a fruit bat, Rosita speaks both English and Spanish. She is a "good-natured, intelligent turquoise blue Muppet".|
|Roxie Marie||Fran Brill||Construction worker Biff's niece.|
|Ruby||Camille Bonora||A pony-tailed monster who likes to play with toy trucks.|
|SAM the Robot||Jerry Nelson||A robot who is supposedly perfect, SAM is prone to silly mistakes. His name is an acronym for "Super Automated Machine".|
|Segi||unknown||Inspired by head writer Joey Mazzarino's adopted daughter, this Muppet is an African-American little girl who sings proudly about her hair, "helping little girls—and their moms—to accept themselves just the way they are by loving their hair".|
|Sherlock Hemlock||Jerry Nelson||A parody based on Basil Rathbone's movie portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Hemlock solves mysteries by "concentrating on the little clues and overlooking the big ones" that his dog Watson tends to find.|
|Sherry Netherland||Alice Dinnean||The "Leona Helmsley of the Furry Arms Hotel". She rules with "an iron fist, a heart of gold, and a brain of oatmeal".|
|Simon Soundman||Jerry Nelson||(1970) A blue Muppet who first appeared in Season 2, he uses sounds to communicate.|
|Slimey the Worm||Jerry Nelson (1970–78), Michael Earl Davis (1978–80), Martin P. Robinson (1980–present), Dick Maitland (voice)||According to Gikow, an "intelligent worm" who is the smallest and, other than Buster, the smartest character on Sesame Street. When he first appeared, he spoke in just squeaky sounds. He later became the only Muppet not voiced by a puppeteer.|
|Aloysius Snuffleupagus ("Snuffy")||Jerry Nelson (1971–78), Richard Hunt, Bryant Young (1978), Michael Earl Davis (1978–80), Martin P. Robinson (1980–present)||Created to represent the psychological age of a four-year-old, Snuffy at seven feet tall and twelve feet wide is the largest Muppet on Sesame Street. He was Big Bird's "imaginary friend" until 1985, when he was finally revealed to the adult cast.|
|Sonny Friendly||Richard Hunt, David Rudman||"America's Friendliest Game Show Host". Based on Pat Sajak, his catchphrase is "Are we having a nice day or what?"|
|Stinky the Stinkweed||Joey Mazzarino||A talking stinkweed plant.|
|Sully||Richard Hunt||A construction worker and Biff's silent counterpart, he nevertheless served as the real brains of the duo. He is considered one of Hunt's most "understated and complex" characters.|
|Super Grover||Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson||Grover's superhero alter ego.|
|Telly Monster||Brian Muehl, Martin P. Robinson||Originally named "the Television Monster" because he was obsessed with TV, his name was changed to Telly and his obsession became triangles. Telly is "the Woody Allen of Muppets: the neurotic one, the one who overthinks everything, the worrier".|
|The Twiddlebugs||Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Martin Robinson, "many others"||A family of fuzzy insects (Tina, Thomas, and their children Teddy and Tessie) who live in a milk carton among the flowers in Ernie's windowsill. The family uses tiny, everyday found objects as furniture, toys and in other innovative ways.|
|Two-Headed Monster||Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt (original); David Rudman, Joey Mazzarino||A purple monster with two heads, who generally speak in gibberish but have a baby-like vocabulary. They teach viewers about cooperation.|
|Wolfgang||unknown||An intelligent, musical brown seal that does not speak, although he honks horns with his nose.|
|Yip Yips (The Martians) (1974 onward)||Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Martin Robinson||The nickname for the show's take on Martians. They have a jellyfish-like appearance and speak in a simple mixture of Martian ("yip" and "nope") and English. Using their ability to teleport, they "valiantly explore our world despite their frequent terrifying encounters with everyday objects like telephones, clocks, radio, fan, book, and computers".|
|Zoe||Fran Brill (1993-2014), Jennifer Barnhart (2016–Present)||(1993—present) Introduced to increase the number of strong female Sesame Street Muppets, Zoe is a yellow-orange monster who is "simultaneously dainty and strong, practical and impulsive".|
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- "Proud to Be Me". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Sims, Melanie (October 20, 2010). "Curly-haired Muppet is role model for black girls". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Gikow, p. 94.
- Gikow, p. 34.
- Gikow, p. 36.
- Borgenicht, p. 38.
- "Sonny Friendly". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- Gikow, p. 132.
- Rome, Emily (September 16, 2013). "When Superman met Super Grover: Henry Cavill visits 'Sesame Street'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
- "Martin Robinson: Martin's Biography". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
- Borgenicht, p. 78.
- "Twiddlebugs". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
- "Wolfgang the Seal". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- Gikow, p. 105.
- Borgenicht, p. 73.
- "The Martians". Sesame Street.org. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
- Borgenicht, p. 87.
- Season 46 - Jennifer Barnart at Sesame Workshop
- Borgenicht, David (1998). Sesame Street Unpaved. New York: Hyperion Publishing. ISBN 0-7868-6460-5
- Clash, Kevin, Gary Brozek & Louis Henry Mitchell (2006). My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me about Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-7679-2375-8
- Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-01996-0
- Finch, Christopher (1993). Jim Henson: The Works: the Art, the Magic, the Imagination. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41203-4
- Fisch, Shalom M.; Lewis Bernstein, "Formative Research Revealed: Methodological and Process Issues in Formative Research". In Fisch, Shalom M. & Truglio, Rosemarie T.. G" is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street. Mahweh, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8058-3394-2.
- Gikow, Louise A. (2009). Sesame Street: A Celebration—Forty Years of Life on the Street. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. ISBN 978-1-57912-638-4.
- Gladwell, Malcolm (2000). The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. ISBN 0-316-31696-2
- Lesser, Gerald S. (1974). Children and Television: Lessons from Sesame Street. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-71448-2