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Muppeteer Jerry Nelson diesOne of the original Muppet performers, Jerry Nelson has passed away at the age of 78. He reportedly died on Thursday of complications from the various cancers and respiratory diseases that he’d been battling for years.

Back in 1965, Nelson started working with Jim Henson when Frank Oz took a break and a new right-hand performer was needed for Rowlf the Dog on The Jimmy Dean Show. Oz returned to work but Nelson stayed with the troupe, performing various characters for Henson’s TV specials.

Nelson joined Sesame Street in its second season and went on to develop numerous characters like Count von Count, Herry Monster, Sherlock Hemlock, The Amazing Mumford, Frazzle, and Grover’s long-suffering customer, Mr. Johnson. Nelson served as a mentor to a young Ricard Hunt and the two quickly became a team, performing duos like Sully and Biff and the Two-Headed Monster.

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