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 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||A 4-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||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||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, John Kennedy||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||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||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||Appeared in the Sesame Street sketches "What's My Part". She was a parody of actress Arlene Francis.|
|Baby Bear||David Rudman||Baby Bear, "borrowed from the enduring 'The Three Bears' story", is Curly Bear's big brother and Telly Monster's best friend.|
|Barkley||Toby Towson (1978), 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 appeared in the 1983 TV special Big Bird in China.|
|Beautiful Day Monster||Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney||Originally appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, this puppet was used interchangeably with Cookie Monster on the first season of Sesame Street.|
|Bennett Snerf||Jerry Nelson (AM Monster version), Caroll Spinney (Anything Muppet version)||Appeared in the Sesame Street sketches "What's My Part". He was a parody of American publisher Bennett Cerf.|
|Benny Rabbit||Kevin Clash||A Grouch 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 (1969–2006), Eric Jacobson (1997–present)||Ernie's best friend, he collects paper clips and bottle caps, is fond of oatmeal 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".|
|Biff||Jerry Nelson, Matt Vogel (2020–present)||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 (1969–2018), Matt Vogel (1997–present)||Standing at eight feet two inches, Big Bird was Designed by Don Sahlin from Jim Henson's sketches and built by Kermit Love. It was Spinney's idea to make Big Bird a child, with "his trademark curiosity and innocence".|
|Bip Bippadotta||Jim Henson, John Kennedy||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. Spinney designed Bruno as a way to allow Oscar to move around and talk at the same time. Spinney also had roller skates made so he could skate around the stage while performing Bruno and Oscar.|
|Buster the Horse||Martin P. Robinson||Forgetful Jones' horse, who often helps Forgetful get out of difficulties and remember things.|
|Captain Vegetable||Jim Henson (1982), Richard Hunt (1983-1984)||He was a superhero who fought for healthy vegetables. His insignia was a carrot.|
|Colambo||Joey Mazzarino||A lamb detective who is inspired by Columbo.|
|Cookie Monster||Frank Oz (1969–2004), David Rudman (2002—present)||According to Sesame Workshop, "Cookie Monster is a frenzied yet cuddly character on a persistent quest for more food...especially cookies!"|
|Count von Count||Jerry Nelson (1972–2012), Matt Vogel (2013–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.|
|Countess Dahling von Dahling||Fran Brill (1980–1984)||Count von Count's girlfriend. She has a dog named Masha and is modeled after Marlene Dietrich.|
|Curly Bear||Stephanie D'Abruzzo||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||Young, energetic pinkish-purple monster with red hair and wild rolling eyes. Described as "hyper-active", Prell reported that her performance was deemed "over-the-top", so the character did not last long.|
|Dingers||Various||Like the Honkers, the Dingers communicate only with dings.|
|Don Music||Richard Hunt, Ryan Dillon (2019–present)||A piano-playing composer who required assistance from Kermit the Frog to complete the lyrics to his songs. Whenever he gets frustrated, he would say his catchphrase, "Oh, I'll never get it right! Never, never, never!" and bang his head on the piano. 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/Ronald Grump||Martin P. Robinson||According to the Washington Post, New York businessman and eventual President of the United States Donald Trump has been parodied by Sesame Street three times, depicted as a grouch like Oscar. The first time was in the late 1980s; Ronald Grump, a Muppet wearing a fedora attempts to con Oscar out of his trash can. Actor Joe Pesci played Ronald Grump in 1994, during the show's 25th anniversary. In 2005, Donald Grump, a Muppet with an orange wig, appeared in a parody of Trump's TV show The Apprentice.|
|Dr. Feel||Steve Whitmire||A spoof of TV personality and author Dr. Phil McGraw.|
|Dr. Nobel Price||Brian Muehl (1979–1984), Kevin Clash (1984–1988)||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 (1979–1984), Richard Hunt (1984–1985), Kevin Clash (1985–2012), Ryan Dillon (2013–present)||Sesame Workshop calls Elmo "a 3½-year-old red monster with a distinctive cheerful voice and a contagious giggle" and "Enthusiastic, friendly, and curious".|
|Ernie||Jim Henson (1969–1990), Steve Whitmire, Peter Linz||Ernie is mischievous and free-spirited; he likes playing practical jokes on his best friend Bert, and loves playing musical instruments, singing, and "taking baths with Rubber Ducky".|
|Farley||Jerry Nelson||A green Muppet boy with short orange spiked hair and a yellow sweater.|
|Ferlinghetti Donizetti||Richard Hunt (1980–1984), Kevin Clash (1984–1986)||A blue poet and rapper who is named after poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.|
|Flo Bear||David Rudman||Bear writer whose name is a riff on French novelist Gustave Flaubert.|
|Forgetful Jones||Michael Earl (1979–1981), Richard Hunt (1981–1992)||A "simpleton cowboy" who always forgets everything.|
|Frazzle||Jerry Nelson||A growling orange monster whose deceptively fierce visage hides a child-like personality and a desperate need to be included.|
|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)".|
|Granny Bird||Caroll Spinney||Big Bird's grandmother.|
|Mrs. Grouch||Martin P. Robinson||Oscar the Grouch's mother.|
|Gonger||Warrick Brownlow-Pike||A fuchsia Muppet who works with Cookie Monster in his food truck. Gonger has "whiskers like friendly muttonchops", "an unusual accent and a background in hospitality". He originated on The Furchester Hotel, a co-production from the UK.|
|Granny Fanny Nestlerode||Caroll Spinney||An old lady Muppet who mostly appeared in Season 2 and Season 3.|
|Grover||Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson (1998—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 (1980—1984), Pam Arciero (1984—)||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||Joey Mazzarino||A seagull who is Big Bird's penpal.|
|Guy Smiley||Jim Henson, Eric Jacobson||Gikow calls Guy "everybody's favorite talk-show host".|
|Harvey Kneeslapper||Frank Oz||A "one-joke character" that was dropped from the show because his "raucous laugh" was too hard on Oz's throat.|
|Herbert Birdsfoot||Jerry Nelson||A bespectacled Muppet. He is a lecturer who often appeared with Grover.|
|Herry Monster||Jerry Nelson, Martin P. Robinson, Peter Linz||According to Borgenicht, Herry is "fuzzy and blue, big and burly", with a "gentle side". He appears in many unscripted scenes with children.|
|Honkers||Various||Like the Dingers, they communicate only through honks.|
|Hoots the Owl||Kevin Clash, Christopher Hayes (2019)||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 Asian elephant.|
|Humphrey||David Rudman||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||Joey Mazzarino||Natasha's mother. She and her husband Humphrey are the hotel managers of the Furry Arms Hotel.|
|Jamie Fox||Joey Mazzarino||A fox who, along with Elmo and actor Jamie Foxx, tries to figure out who is the real "Jamie Fox". They end up singing the alphabet together.|
|Julia||Stacey Gordon (2017—present)||A little girl with "green eyes and red hair and an artistic temperament" who has autism.|
|Kermit the Frog||Jim Henson (1955–90), Steve Whitmire (1990—2016)Matt Vogel (2017–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 Muppet who is smart, cool, and prefers to do his own thing.|
|Lefty the Salesman||Frank Oz (1970-1975), Ryan Dillon (2019)||A shady, green-skinned Muppet who tries to sell useless items to other characters (usually Ernie).|
|Little Bird||Fran Brill, Stephanie D'Abruzzo (2019)||Big Bird's "little friend", who is "slightly wiser" than 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||Jerry Nelson||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||Alice Dinnean, Stephanie D'Abruzzo||Elizabeth's beloved pet cat.|
|Liz Lemon||Stephanie D'Abruzzo||A lemon who is a parody of Tina Fey's 30 Rock character of the same name.|
|Louie||Bill Barretta (2006–2010), Tyler Bunch (2010–present)||Elmo's dad.|
|Mama Bear||Jennifer Barnhart||Baby Bear and Curly Bear's mother and Papa Bear’s wife.|
|The Martians||Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Martin P. Robinson||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.|
|Meryl Sheep||Camille Bonora||A sheep with a vaguely European accent who has brunette or sometimes blonde hair. She is a parody of Meryl Streep.|
|Monty||Martin P. Robinson||Muppet-homage to Monty Python's Flying Circus.|
|Mr. Johnson||Jerry Nelson (1971–2012), Matt Vogel (2013–present)||Also called "Fat Blue", Mr. Johnson usually appears with Grover in restaurant skits as his harried customer (and usually at Charlie's Restaurant).|
|Murray Monster||Joey Mazzarino||The host of the "Word on the Street" segment, Murray is a boisterous, red-orange Muppet.|
|Natasha||Kevin Clash||An infant monster who uses only baby-talk to communicate. Natasha's parents are Humphrey and Ingrid.|
|Oscar the Grouch||Caroll Spinney (1969–2018), Eric Jacobson (2019–present)||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 that he encountered.|
|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.|
|Placido Flamingo||Richard Hunt||An "opera star" who often sang with his human counterpart, Placido Domingo.|
|Prairie Dawn||Fran Brill, Stephanie D'Abruzzo (2015–present)||A little girl whose psychological age is that of a precocious three-year-old.|
|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 that 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), Chris Knowings (voice, 2019)||An African-American Muppet who attended Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School, played headball at Roosevelt Franklin Stadium 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 (1991—present)||Rosita, a playful and optimistic 5-year-old, is from Mexico. She knows both English and Spanish, and likes to share her heritage with her friends and teach them Spanish words. She also likes singing and playing the guitar.|
|Roxie Marie||Fran Brill||Construction worker Biff's niece.|
|Rudy||Frankie Cordero (2017—present)||Abby's stepbrother.|
|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 (2010)||Chantylla Johnson (voice)||Inspired by head writer and puppeteer Joey Mazzarino's adopted daughter, she first appeared in the sketch in which she sang, "I Love My Hair"; according to writer Kathy Russell-Cole and her colleagues, after it was posted online, the response was "nearly overwhelming" and went viral.|
|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||A blue Muppet who uses sounds to communicate.|
|Slimey||Jerry Nelson (1970–1978), Michael Earl Davis (1978–1980), 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.|
|Smartie (2017)||Deborah Grausman||An animated yellow phone and Elmo's sidekick. Her catchphrase is "Look it up."|
|Mr. Snuffleupagus ("Snuffy")||Jerry Nelson (1971–1978), Michael Earl Davis (1978–1980), Martin P. Robinson (1980–present)||A "large and friendly monster resembling an anteater" and Big Bird's best friend. At first, Snuffy was Big Bird's imaginary friend and never seen by the adults, but in 1985, the producers decided to reveal him as real to teach children that their perceptions could be trusted.|
|Sonny Friendly||Richard Hunt, David Rudman||Sesame Street Unpaved calls Sonny "America's Friendliest Game Show Host".|
|Stinky the Stinkweed||Joey Mazzarino||A talking stinkweed plant.|
|Sully||Richard Hunt (1973–1992), David Rudman (1992–1999)||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 (1970–1998), Eric Jacobson (1998–present)||Grover's superhero alter ego.|
|Telly Monster||Bob Payne (1979), Brian Muehl (1979–1984), Martin P. Robinson||According to Sesame Workshop, "Telly Monster is an intense and earnest monster who worries over everything". His favorite shape is the triangle and his best friend is Baby Bear.|
|The Twiddlebugs||Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson||A family of fuzzy insects (Thomas, Tessie and their children Timmy and Tina) who live in a milk carton among the flowers in Ernie's window box.|
|The Two-Headed Monster||Left Head: Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson, David Rudman (1992)||A purple monster with two heads, who generally speak in gibberish but have a baby-like vocabulary. They teach viewers about cooperation.|
|Zoe||Fran Brill (1993–2015), Jennifer Barnhart (2016–present)||Introduced to increase the number of strong female Sesame Street Muppets, Zoe is a three-year-old Muppet who loves to sing and dance. She is strong-willed, confident, has a big imagination, and owns a pet rock named Rocco.|
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