Jerry Nelson, one of the original Muppeteers, passed away yesterday Tough Pigs reports. Nelson puppeteered close to 1,000 characters created by the famed Jim Henson during his 47-year career. He is credited for 120 of these performances, which included regular appearances on both The Muppet Show and Sesame Street.
Nelson had been fighting with various health issues for over a decade and had announced in 2004 that he would no longer be puppeteering full time.
Nelson was first hired by Jim Henson in 1965 and began contributing to Sesame Street which was in its second season at the time. His first characters included Sherlock Hemlock, The Amazing Mumford, Henry Monster and Count von Count. He was also the first puppeteer to perform Mr. Snuffleupagus.
Nelson performed many secondary characters on The Muppet Show and assumed head roles for Fraggle Rock.
Nelson’s last performance was in Jason Segel’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Hosting SNL” musical number for Saturday Night Live.