Muppetology 101: Intro to Muppet Performers, Part 4

Published: February 9, 2015
Categories: Muppet Mindset


Ryan Dosier – Did you hear the school bell? That means it’s time once again for Muppetology 101! Welcome back to the fourth installment of Intro to Muppet Performers where we spotlight six more of the men and women who bring the Muppets to life. Let’s get started shall we?


    • Unknown Birthday
      • First Muppet Production: The Muppet Movie (1979)
      • Most Recent Muppet Production: The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (1996-1997); appeared as Mokey Fraggle at DragonCon (2013)
      • Characters: Mokey Fraggle, Cotterpin Doozer, Gaffer the Cat, Jill (The Muppets Take Manhattan), Apple (The Christmas Toy)
    • Kathryn Mullen began her long career with Jim Henson’s characters in 1979 as an assistant puppeteer on The Muppet Movie. She notably assisted Jim Henson in the underwater performing of “Rainbow Connection.” After filming wrapped, Kathryn became the third female puppeteer on The Muppet Show, following Eren Ozker and Louise Gold. Kathryn’s only notable character on the show was Gaffer the Cat, who appeared throughout the background in seasons 4 and 5. After The Muppet Show ended, Kathryn became more of a lead puppeteer, providing the puppetry for Kira in The Dark Crystal. Her steak of lead puppeteering continued with Fraggle Rock, where she was one of the five core performers, performing Mokey Fraggle in every episode. She also performed the recurring character Cotterpin Doozer. Kathryn continued to perform with the Muppets off and on throughout the 1980s and 1990s along with her husband, Muppet designer and artist Michael Frith. Kathryn also was the primary assistant to Frank Oz when performing Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and she co-created Between the Lions. Kathryn rarely performs anymore, but she did appear with Mokey Fraggle at DragonCon in 2013.


    • Born June 28, 1967
      • First Muppet Production: Sesame Street Season 25 (1994)
      • Most Recent Muppet Production: Muppets Most Wanted (2014); Sesame Street Season 45 (2014-2015)
      • Characters: Walter, Tutter (Bear in the Big Blue House), Pip (Bear in the Big Blue House), Droop, Manolo Flamingo (Muppets Most Wanted)
    • Peter Linz has been a puppeteer since he was very young (age 3, according to Muppet Wiki). He began performing with the Muppets on Sesame Street in Season 25 and has served as both a featured and background puppeteer on the show for twenty years. Peter was one of the primary puppeteers on Disney and The Jim Henson Company’s Bear in the Big Blue House where he performed Tutter the Mouse, Pip the Otter, and other characters. In 2011, Peter was cast in the major role of Walter in The Muppets. Walter has been a major presence in the Muppet world ever since, making numerous appearances on television shows and online and in Muppets Most Wanted in 2014. Peter also performed on many different television series, including Between the LionsPuzzle Place, and The Book of Pooh. Peter remains one of the primary Muppet performers for Disney’s Muppets Studio.


    • Born April 21
      • First Muppet Production: Plaza Sesamo (1985)
      • Most Recent Production: Sesame Street Season 45 (2014-2015)
      • Characters: Rosita, Ovejita
    • Carmen Oshbar became a puppeteer in Mexico City unintentionally after wanting to get into television as an actress. Through her puppetry work, Carmen attended a Muppet Workshop in New York, where Kermit Love recruited her for Plaza Sesamo, the Mexican version of Sesame Street. Kermit Love was so impressed with Carmen that he asked her to train the other puppeteers at the workshop as well. Thanks to Plaza Sesamo, Carmen was put in touch with Jim Henson and eventually hired as a full-time puppeteer on Sesame Street in 1989. Carmen is most well known for performing Rosita on Sesame Street, whom she has performed since 1994. Throughout her long career with the Muppets, Carmen has also performed in Dog CityThe Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, and the non-Henson project Puzzle Place. Carmen continues to perform Rosita on Sesame Street.


    • Born December 9, 1963
      • First Muppet Production: Muppets Tonight (1996)
      • Most Recent Muppet Production: Sesame Street Season 45 (2014-2015)
      • Characters: Abby Cadabby, Spamella Hamderson, Darci, Prairie Dawn’s Mom Delta, Velvet (“Elmo the Musical”)
    • Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is a talented actress, puppeteer, and singer who began working with the Muppets on Muppets Tonight, where she performed Spamella Hamderson and acted as one of the few female performers on the show. After Muppets Tonight ended, Leslie began working on Sesame Street, where she performs the show’s newest major character: Abby Cadabby. Leslie began performing Abby in 2006 and has since made the fairy godchild one of the show’s most popular characters. Leslie has performed a slew of other characters on Sesame Street as well, including the CGI curtain Velvet in “Elmo the Musical.” Leslie also performs her sweet, goofy original character Lolly Lardpop in various shows and appearances. Leslie is married to Paul Rudolph, the Music Coordinator for both Muppets Tonight and Sesame Street. Leslie currently performs on Sesame Street and is an accomplished voice actress and entertainer.


    • Born May 25, 1988
      • First Muppet Production: Sesame Street Season 34 (2005)
      • Most Recent Muppet Production: Sesame Street Season 45 (2014-2015)
      • Characters: Elmo (2013-present)
    • Ryan Dillon is one of the newest Muppet performers to become a primary puppeteer. Ryan has performed on Sesame Street for ten years since he was just 17 years old. Ryan began performing Elmo in 2013 after Kevin Clash’s departure from the show. Ryan rapidly became one of the core Muppet performers on Sesame Street and performs Elmo in every new appearance since 2013.

Jim Hensen Muppet Characters Donated To Smithsonian

    • June 16, 1934 – April 2, 2013
      • First Muppet Production: Sam and Friends (1955)
      • Most Recent Muppet Production: The Muppet Show Episodes 101 and 103 (1976)
    • Jane Henson was the wife of Jim Henson, mother of Cheryl, Lisa, Brian, John, and Heather Henson, and the first Muppet performer other than Jim. Jane met and fell in love with Jim Henson at the University of Maryland and began performing with him on his television series Sam and Friends in 1955. Jane and Jim were married in 1959 and, despite a separation in the 1980s, remained married until Jim’s death in 1990. Although Jane did not perform much outside of Sam and Friends and very early episodes of both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, she remains a legend in the Muppet world. After Jim’s death, Jane became a major proponent for preserving Jim’s work, creations, and legacy. She co-founded The Jim Henson Legacy and made appearances and gave lectures at Legacy events right up until her death in 2013.

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