Nikki Tilroe

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Nikki Tilroe
Nikki Tilroe as the Mime Lady.jpg
Nikki Tilroe in her role as the Mime Lady on Today's Special
Born(1941-12-26)December 26, 1941
DiedSeptember 1, 2005(2005-09-01) (aged 63)[1]
OccupationActress, puppeteer
Years active1975–2005

Nikki Tilroe (December 26, 1941[1] – September 1, 2005[1]) was an American actress and puppeteer.[2] She is best known for her work as the "Mime Lady" on the children's television series Today's Special. She also operated Muppets on the TV show Fraggle Rock and played "Beaver" on Cucumber.

Tilroe worked out of Toronto during the 1970s and 1980s, and served as director for Frog Print Theater. In 1975 Tilroe was awarded a "Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry" by Jim Henson. In 1993 she received an Emmy Award as the head puppeteer on the production of The Land of I.

Tilroe appeared on the children's television show Charlie Horse Music Pizza, and was one of three puppeteers to manipulate the "Snuggle Bear", a puppet designed by Kermit Love. Tilroe also taught puppetry courses through several venues, including the University of Hawaii, the Toronto Teacher's College, at festivals and conferences, and through the O'Neill Puppetry Conference.[1] She also wrote about puppetry, including the 1996 booklet, Movement in puppetry performance.[3]

Tilroe worked on the web-produced puppet films for Sammy Snail,[4] and in 2004 she received a grant from The Jim Henson Foundation for a production called Aging, produced with Larry Siegel through Tricinium Limited in Keene, New Hampshire.[5]

Tilroe died aged 63 at her home in Derry, New Hampshire on September 1, 2005. She had been suffering from liver and kidney diseases. Her remains were cremated.[6]

In 2007, the O'Neill Puppetry Conference recognized Tilroe's contribution to puppetry by providing a scholarship in her name. The Nikki Tilroe Scholarship is supported by her family and friends and it is awarded to candidates with a particular interest in "movement and dedication to the art of puppetry".[7]


  • Cucumber) (1972) (Beaver) (Ecology)
  • Math Patrol (1977) (Cast)
  • Today's Special: Live on Stage (1981) (Many characters)
  • Follow That Bird (1985) (Board of Birds, voice)
  • The Christmas Toy (1986) (Ding-a-Ling, voice)
  • Today's Special (1981–86) (Many characters) (20 episodes)
  • Fraggle Songs: A Musical History of Fraggle Rock (1985–87) (Muppet Performer/ Merple Merggle) (27 episodes)
  • Water from the Moon (2002) (Puppets)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Peabody Funeral Homes (September 1, 2005). "Nikki A. Tilroe". Peabody Funeral Homes Obituaries. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  2. ^ Christiansen, Jeane (August 29, 1967). "Her Animals Come to Life: Puppeteer Nikki's Creatures Delight Kids, Adults". The Bangor Daily News. p. 7. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  3. ^ Tilroe, Nikki (1996). Movement in Puppetry Performance. DaSilva Puppet Books. ISBN 0-9513600-4-3.
  4. ^ Sammy Snail and Friends Archived 2010-09-20 at the Wayback Machine, The Theatre of Life Puppets, About Us
  5. ^ "2005 Grants: Seed Grants ($2,000): Tricinium Limited". Jim Henson Foundation. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Nikki Tilroe Scholarship". O'Neill Puppetry Conference. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.

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