Cape Cod, MA, USA (August 24, 2012) — Longtime Muppet performer Jerry Nelson passed away yesterday due to complications from cancer at his home on Cape Cod. Nelson started performing with Jim Henson in 1965, temporarily replacing Frank Oz as the right arm of Rowlf the Dog on the Jimmy Dean Show. Over the years, he performed and voiced a number of characters for both the Muppet and Sesame Street franchises and appeared as a human actor on Sesame Street.
As is often the case with the Muppets, Nelson would hand over roles to or pick up roles from others. Following the death of Richard Hunt, he played Statler, one half of the curmudgeon team of old men in the balcony, in four theatrical films. Nelson is credited as playing Camilla the chicken and Zoot the saxophone player in the Muppetvision 3D film showing at Disney theme parks.
Sesame Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street, have issued the following statement:
The cast and crew of Sesame Street and the staff of Sesame Workshop deeply mourn the loss of cast member and creator of dozens of Muppet characters, Jerry Nelson. A member of the Sesame Street family for more than 40 years, he will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide through his portrayal of Count von Count, Herry Monster, Fat Blue, Sherlock Hemlock, the Amazing Mumford and many other beloved characters. We will miss his extraordinary spirit and the joy he brought to our Street.