Jerry Nelson, the puppeteer famous for voicing numerous Muppet characters such as Count Von Count and Herry Monster from the long-running children’s educational series Sesame Street, died in his Cape Cod, Massachusetts home Thursday. He was 78.
Nelson retired from puppetry in 2004 but continued to voice several characters until his death. He was a contributor to nearly every project produced by the late Muppet master Jim Henson.
Nelson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1934, and joined Henson’s cast of Muppeteers in 1965 and eventually joined Sesame Street full-time in 1970 for the show’s second season.
He was known for his upbeat demeanor and dedication to the company, which Lisa Henson — daughter of Jim Henson and current CEO of The Jim Henson Company — touched on in a statement.
“Jerry Nelson imbued all his characters with the same gentle, sweet whimsy and kindness that were a part of his own personality. He joined The Jim Henson Company in the earliest years, and his unique contributions to the worlds of Fraggles, Muppets, Sesame Street and so many others are, and will continue to be, unforgettable,” she wrote.
“On behalf of the Henson family and everyone at the Jim Henson Company, our deepest sympathies go out to Jerry’s family and to his many fans.”