Jerry Nelson, One Of The Original Muppeteers, Has Died.

Dammit to hell...

If Disney Animation has the Nine Old Men, then the Muppets had the Five First Voices; the men who did voices right from the start. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson. Before replacements, or backups, or proteges, these were the guys that gave life to a collection of characters as wonderful and insane and hilarious as the world has known. And now there is one less.

Jerry Nelson, was the original voice of Muppets Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Fozzie's Mom, Camillia, J.P. Grosse, Lew Zealand, Pops the Doorman, Uncle Deadly and perhaps most prominently, Robin the Frog, Kermit's Nephew. On the Street, he performed Count von Count, The Amazing Mumford, Harry Monster and the Two Headed Monster. And on Fraggle Rock, he was Gobo, Pa Gorg, and the Trash Heap, and the only one of the original Muppet performers to work full time on the Rock. He was the original voice of Statler, and returned to the role after frequent partner Richard Hunt's death, and originated the role of Snuffleupagus. He also often played the role of 'announcer' on the various shows. And, for those that remember it fondly, he voiced Emmett Otter in that character's Christmas special.

Looking at that list, and seeing so many of my favourite characters, it's a startling reminder of what these men accomplished, and how honestly good they were at what they did. So much came from so few, and though the men may not remain, their characters have taken on a life of their own, and have ensured their legacy.

Though he stopped performing his Muppet characters in 2004, Jerry kept up his Sesame Street characters right up to his death last Friday, from complications from cancer.

The above video is Nelson performing When The River Meets The Sea at Jim Henson's Memorial in 1990.

Hit the jump for a collection of Nelson's work. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I've got something in my eye.

When I first heard of Nelson's passing, this was the clip that immediately jumped to mind. It remains one of my favourite Muppet performances ever, from perhaps the greatest Muppet film ever made, A Muppet Family Christmas, which is criminally unavailable on DVD.
Share on Google Plus

About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


Post a Comment