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'''Kevin Jeffrey Clash'''<ref>[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR2Q2a0JABQ Kevin Clash - Archive Interview Part 1 of 4]</ref> (b. September 17, 1960) is an accomplished puppeteer whose characters include [[Elmo]], [[Clifford]] and [[Hoots the Owl]]. He currently serves as ''[[Sesame Street]]'' Muppet Captain and co-executive producer. He was promoted to "senior creative advisor" at Sesame Workshop in May 2007. <ref>"[http://www.c21media.net/news/detail.asp?area=79&article=35822 Workshop promotes Elmo]", ''C21Media'', 16 May 2007.</ref> The 2011 documentary ''[[Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey]]'' chronicles Clash's life as a puppeteer.
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'''Kevin Jeffrey Clash'''<ref>[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR2Q2a0JABQ Kevin Clash - Archive Interview Part 1 of 4]</ref> (b. September 17, 1960) is an accomplished puppeteer whose characters include [[Elmo]], [[Clifford]] and [[Hoots the Owl]]. He served as ''[[Sesame Street]]'' Muppet Captain and co-executive producer for several years, and was promoted to "senior creative advisor" at Sesame Workshop in May 2007.<ref>"[http://www.c21media.net/news/detail.asp?area=79&article=35822 Workshop promotes Elmo]", ''C21Media'', 16 May 2007.</ref> The 2011 documentary ''[[Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey]]'' chronicles Clash's life as a puppeteer.
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  +
Clash resigned from ''Sesame Street'' in November 2012 in response to two allegations that he had sexual relationships with teenage boys.<ref name="nytimes nov 20">Jensen, Elizabeth and Stelter, Brian. "[http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/kevin-clash-elmo-puppeteer-resigns/ Kevin Clash, Elmo Puppeteer, Resigns]", ''The New York Times'' Media Decoder blog. November 20, 2012.</ref>
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Sesame Workshop released a statement about Clash's resignation on November 20:
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  +
"Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ''Sesame Street''. This is a sad day for ''Sesame Street''."<ref name="nytimes nov 20"/>
   
 
==Background==
 
==Background==
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Clash grew up with parents George and Gladys, older siblings George Jr. ("Georgie") and Anita ("NeNe"), and little sister Pam. His father works as a flash welder operator at Raymond Metals and a neighborhood handyman, and his mother ran a daycare.<ref name="mylife">''My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud''.</ref>
 
Clash grew up with parents George and Gladys, older siblings George Jr. ("Georgie") and Anita ("NeNe"), and little sister Pam. His father works as a flash welder operator at Raymond Metals and a neighborhood handyman, and his mother ran a daycare.<ref name="mylife">''My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud''.</ref>
   
Clash began building puppets at the age of ten. Clash's parents were supportive of his interest in puppetry, driving him to puppet shows, allowing for his love of television and craft, and not urging him to attend college when he announced he was pursuing puppetry professionally. Among his television viewing were such series as [[Shari Lewis]] and [[Lamb Chop]], ''[[Burr Tillstrom|Kukla, Fran, and Ollie]]'', and ''H.R. Pufnstuf''. Clash has admitted he watched television inches away from the screen, with no permanent eye damage. <ref name="mylife"/> His parents were supposedly more amused than angered when he cut apart his father's good overcoat to create a monkey puppet with the fuzzy black lining.<ref name="mylife"/> As a tribute, Elmo's parents were named [[Louie#Elmo's World|George]] and [[Elmo's Mom#Elmo's World|Gladys]] in an ''[[Elmo's World]]'' segment; their names have since been changed.
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Clash began building puppets at the age of ten. Clash's parents were supportive of his interest in puppetry, driving him to puppet shows, allowing for his love of television and craft, and not urging him to attend college when he announced he was pursuing puppetry professionally. Among his television viewing were such series as [[Shari Lewis]] and [[Lamb Chop]], ''[[Burr Tillstrom|Kukla, Fran, and Ollie]]'', and ''H.R. Pufnstuf''. Clash has admitted he watched television inches away from the screen, with no permanent eye damage.<ref name="mylife"/> His parents were supposedly more amused than angered when he cut apart his father's good overcoat to create a monkey puppet with the fuzzy black lining.<ref name="mylife"/> As a tribute, Elmo's parents were named [[Louie#Elmo's World|George]] and [[Elmo's Mom#Elmo's World|Gladys]] in an ''[[Elmo's World]]'' segment; their names have since been changed.
   
 
He performed on Baltimore's Harbor Front as a teenager. In high school, he was voted "Most Likely to be a Millionaire."
 
He performed on Baltimore's Harbor Front as a teenager. In high school, he was voted "Most Likely to be a Millionaire."
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[[Image:Clash-Henson.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash and Jim Henson.]]
 
[[Image:Clash-Henson.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash and Jim Henson.]]
 
[[Image:Jh-kermit-legs-web.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash assists Henson on Kermit the Frog.]]
 
[[Image:Jh-kermit-legs-web.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash assists Henson on Kermit the Frog.]]
[[File:Kevin_Elmo_EW.jpg|thumb|250px]]
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[[File:Bts_tmcjh.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash with Frank Oz filming ''The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson''.]]
 
Kevin Clash first met Kermit Love in the 1970s, who occasionally arranged for the fledgling puppeteer to visit the set of ''Sesame Street''. In 1979, the main Muppet performers were performing in a ''[[The Muppet Movie|Muppet Movie]]'' float in the [[Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade]], and extra puppeteers were needed for the ''Sesame Street'' float. Clash was brought in to perform [[Cookie Monster]] for the event.<ref name="mylife"/>
 
Kevin Clash first met Kermit Love in the 1970s, who occasionally arranged for the fledgling puppeteer to visit the set of ''Sesame Street''. In 1979, the main Muppet performers were performing in a ''[[The Muppet Movie|Muppet Movie]]'' float in the [[Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade]], and extra puppeteers were needed for the ''Sesame Street'' float. Clash was brought in to perform [[Cookie Monster]] for the event.<ref name="mylife"/>
   
Later, in 1983, he was officially hired to perform in ten episodes of ''Sesame Street''. However, at the time he was performing full-time on two other shows, and the producers of both refused to work around his schedule. Thus, Clash was forced to tear up his contract to appear on ''Sesame Street''. <ref name="mylife">''What Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud''</ref>
+
Later, in 1983, he was officially hired to perform in ten episodes of ''Sesame Street''. However, at the time he was performing full-time on two other shows, and the producers of both refused to work around his schedule. Thus, Clash was forced to tear up his contract to appear on ''Sesame Street''.<ref name="mylife">''What Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud''</ref>
   
 
Kevin Clash was also given the opportunity to perform in ''[[The Dark Crystal]]'', but Kermit Love dissuaded him, urging Clash to concentrate on his other series work.
 
Kevin Clash was also given the opportunity to perform in ''[[The Dark Crystal]]'', but Kermit Love dissuaded him, urging Clash to concentrate on his other series work.
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Kevin Clash officially became a ''Sesame Street'' puppeteer in 1984. Some of his earliest characters included [[Hoots the Owl]] and [[Dr. Nobel Price]], later supplemented by the likes of [[Baby Natasha]] and [[Kingston Livingston III]]. However, it was Elmo who became his main character, once Clash assumed the part from previous puppeteers [[Brian Muehl]] and [[Richard Hunt]], and placed his own imprint on the red monster. Clash has also sung in voice-over in a variety of film and cartoon inserts on the series, including "[[Skin]]", "[[Animal Books]]", and "[[Take Care of That Smile]]."
 
Kevin Clash officially became a ''Sesame Street'' puppeteer in 1984. Some of his earliest characters included [[Hoots the Owl]] and [[Dr. Nobel Price]], later supplemented by the likes of [[Baby Natasha]] and [[Kingston Livingston III]]. However, it was Elmo who became his main character, once Clash assumed the part from previous puppeteers [[Brian Muehl]] and [[Richard Hunt]], and placed his own imprint on the red monster. Clash has also sung in voice-over in a variety of film and cartoon inserts on the series, including "[[Skin]]", "[[Animal Books]]", and "[[Take Care of That Smile]]."
   
Clash served as an additional Muppet performer on ''[[Follow That Bird]]'', where he performed the voice of one of the feathered friends, <ref>Clash, Kevin ''[[The MuppetCast]]'' Episode 48</ref> and reprised Elmo, along with other characters, in the feature film ''[[The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland]]'' and innumerable specials, appearances, and videos.
+
Clash served as an additional Muppet performer on ''[[Follow That Bird]]'', where he performed the voice of one of the feathered friends,<ref>Clash, Kevin ''[[The MuppetCast]]'' Episode 48</ref> and reprised Elmo, along with other characters, in the feature film ''[[The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland]]'' and innumerable specials, appearances, and videos.
   
 
==More Muppets==
 
==More Muppets==
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==Interviews==
 
==Interviews==
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation interviewed Clash in 2004 for the Archive of American Television. The two-hour interview was posted on YouTube in 2008. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR2Q2a0JABQ] [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPsLvKygRHo] [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYtKp69p7Ng] [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMTN5NrMKJw]
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The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation interviewed Clash in 2004 for the Archive of American Television. The two-hour interview was posted on YouTube in 2008.
  +
  +
:[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3G-FhwC4g4#! Part 1] | [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWge3Aj7BXY Part 2] | [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGXNMzhUtmo Part 3] | [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXallBLP824 Part 4]
   
 
==Performance Credits==
 
==Performance Credits==
 
===Puppeteer===
 
===Puppeteer===
[[File:Bts_tmcjh.jpg|thumb|250px|Clash with Frank Oz filming ''[[The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson]]''.]]
 
 
[[Image:Performer.kevinclash.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[Image:Performer.kevinclash.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[File:ElmoKevinClash.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[File:ElmoKevinClash.jpg|thumb|250px]]
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[[File:KevinClash-Elmo-closeup.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[File:KevinClash-Elmo-closeup.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[Image:ElmoKevinClashFurryArmsHotel.jpg|thumb|250px]]
 
[[Image:ElmoKevinClashFurryArmsHotel.jpg|thumb|250px]]
* ''[[Sesame Street]]'': [[Elmo]], [[Baby Fats Domino]], [[Baby Tooth and the Funky Funk|Baby Tooth]], a beet from "[[Grow High Grow Low]]", [[Benny Rabbit]], [[Big Bad Wolf|The Big Bad Wolf]] (several '80s [[Sesame Street News Flash]] skits), [[Billy Idle]], [[The Voice|Cee Leo Green Muppet]], [[Pre-School Musical|Chad]], [[Chef John]], [[Chip and Dip|Chip Cat]], [[Clementine]] (1985-1988), [[Cloud]], [[Cookie Monster's Mommy]] ("[[The First Time Me Eat Cookie]]"), [[Dexter]] (head), [[Dick]], [[The Duck]], [[Dr. Nobel Price]] (1984 - 1988), [[Dwayne (Anything Muppet)|Dwayne]], [[Eel (Sesame Street)|Eel]], [[Ernie]]'s [[Large Lavender Live Hand]] [[Anything Muppet]] friend from "[[Don't Throw That Trash on the Ground]]", [[Felicity]] (in "[[The People in Your Neighborhood (song)|The People in Your Neighborhood]]"), [[Ferlinghetti Donizetti]], [[Glee|Finn]], [[The Grand High Triangle Lover]], [[Tyrone and Gus|Gus]], [[Herb and Glo|Herb]], [[Honkers]], [[Hoots the Owl]], [[J. P.]], [[Kermit's Doctor]], [[Kingston Livingston III]], [[Left]], "[[Let's Go Driving]]" son, [[Luba Merquick]], [[Mel]], [[Mike the Ladybug]], [[Natasha]], [[Next Generation Security Officer]], [[Pablo Paint Palette]], [[Patti Paintbrush]], [[Paul Pencil]], [[Peter Piper]], [[Pizzeria Dos]], [[Preposterous]], [[Professor D. Rabbit]], [[The Seven Dwarves|Sad]], [[Sam (pianist)|Sam]] (pianist), [[Selma Worm]], [[Sergeant Gabriel]], [[The Sun]] (in "[[Sesame Street Game Shows|Where Do I Belong?]]"), [[The Super Foods]] broccoli, [[Timmy (Sesame Street)|Timmy]], [[Watson]], [[Wolfgang the Seal]], [[Yip Yip Martian]]
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* ''[[Sesame Street]]'': [[Elmo]], [[Baby Fats Domino]], [[Baby Tooth and the Funky Funk|Baby Tooth]], a beet from "[[Grow High Grow Low]]", [[Benny Rabbit]], [[Big Bad Wolf|The Big Bad Wolf]] (several '80s [[Sesame Street News Flash]] skits), [[Billy Idle]], [[The Voice|Cee Lo Green Muppet]], [[Pre-School Musical|Chad]], [[Chef John]], [[Chip and Dip|Chip Cat]], [[Clementine]] (1985-1988), [[Cloud]], [[Cookie Monster's Mommy]] ("[[The First Time Me Eat Cookie]]"), [[Dexter]] (head), [[Dick]], [[The Duck]], [[Dr. Nobel Price]] (1984 - 1988), [[Dwayne (Anything Muppet)|Dwayne]], [[Eel (Sesame Street)|Eel]], [[Ernie]]'s [[Large Lavender Live Hand]] [[Anything Muppet]] friend from "[[Don't Throw That Trash on the Ground]]", [[Felicity]] (in "[[The People in Your Neighborhood (song)|The People in Your Neighborhood]]"), [[Ferlinghetti Donizetti]], [[Glee|Finn]], [[The Grand High Triangle Lover]], [[Tyrone and Gus|Gus]], [[Herb and Glo|Herb]], [[Honkers]], [[Hoots the Owl]], [[J. P.]], [[Kermit's Doctor]], [[Kingston Livingston III]], [[Left]], "[[Let's Go Driving]]" son, [[Luba Merquick]], [[Mel]], [[Mike the Ladybug]], [[Natasha]], [[Next Generation Security Officer]], [[Pablo Paint Palette]], [[Patti Paintbrush]], [[Paul Pencil]], [[Peter Piper]], [[Pizzeria Dos]], [[Preposterous]], [[Professor D. Rabbit]], [[The Seven Dwarves|Sad]], [[Sam (pianist)|Sam]] (pianist), [[Selma Worm]], [[Sergeant Gabriel]], [[The Sun]] (in "[[Sesame Street Game Shows|Where Do I Belong?]]"), [[The Super Foods]] broccoli, [[Timmy (Sesame Street)|Timmy]], [[Watson]], [[Wolfgang the Seal]], [[Yip Yip Martian]]
 
* ''[[Follow That Bird]]'': Additional Muppet Performer
 
* ''[[Follow That Bird]]'': Additional Muppet Performer
 
* ''[[The Alphabet Game]]'': [[Dimples the Dog]]
 
* ''[[The Alphabet Game]]'': [[Dimples the Dog]]
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*''[[Here for You]]''
 
*''[[Here for You]]''
 
*''[[Abby in Wonderland]]''
 
*''[[Abby in Wonderland]]''
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*''[[Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce]]''
   
 
===Producer===
 
===Producer===
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==Notes==
 
==Notes==
* His daughter Shannon was born in 1993.<ref>Elisa Chia, [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/entertainment/view/222188/1/.html "Meet the grown-up behind Elmo"], 31 July 2006.</ref> As a little girl, she thought Elmo was her brother. Later on: {{quote|[Laughs, impersonating his daughter] “Hi Daddy, can I speak to Elmo?” “Yeah, yeah, Okay.” [In Elmo's voice] “Hi Shannon.” “Hi Elmo — listen there’s this new Barbie that I… ” [Laughs] Let me tell you, Shannon has earned many more Emmys than I have with her dramatics … I’d take my Emmy and put it down on the floor. [Applauding] “Oh, you deserve this, girl.” <ref>Anthony Breznican, "[http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/01/28/sundance-being-elmo/ Sundance: 'Being Elmo' reveals big-hearted man behind the fur]", ''Entertainment Weekly'', January 28, 2010.</ref>}}
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* His daughter Shannon was born in 1993.<ref>Elisa Chia, [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/entertainment/view/222188/1/.html "Meet the grown-up behind Elmo"], 31 July 2006.</ref> As a little girl, she thought Elmo was her brother. Later on: {{quote|[Laughs, impersonating his daughter] “Hi Daddy, can I speak to Elmo?” “Yeah, yeah, Okay.” [In Elmo's voice] “Hi Shannon.” “Hi Elmo — listen there’s this new Barbie that I… ” [Laughs] Let me tell you, Shannon has earned many more Emmys than I have with her dramatics … I’d take my Emmy and put it down on the floor. [Applauding] “Oh, you deserve this, girl.”<ref>Anthony Breznican, "[http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/01/28/sundance-being-elmo/ Sundance: 'Being Elmo' reveals big-hearted man behind the fur]", ''Entertainment Weekly'', January 28, 2011.</ref>}}
* Kevin Clash rarely appears on talk shows without Elmo. One of the few instances in which he appeared on television as himself was on ''[[The Oprah Winfrey Show]]'', in a 2006 episode, "The Faces Behind the Famous Names".
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* During his tenure as the character, Kevin Clash rarely appeared on talk shows without Elmo. One of the few instances in which he appeared on television as himself was on ''[[The Oprah Winfrey Show]]'', in a 2006 episode, "The Faces Behind the Famous Names".
 
* He made a longer appearance on the July 11, 2006 broadcast of ''[[Rove Live]]'' performing Elmo first and later appearing as himself with Elmo. Other appearances on TV as himself include ''[[Emeril Live]]'' and ''Grill It! with Bobby Flay''. In the latter, he prepares a ribeye steak and his favorite vidalia onion recipe with butter and garlic which he describes as what ''Sesame Street'' would call a "[[Is Cookie Monster now the Veggie Monster?|sometime food]]."
 
* He made a longer appearance on the July 11, 2006 broadcast of ''[[Rove Live]]'' performing Elmo first and later appearing as himself with Elmo. Other appearances on TV as himself include ''[[Emeril Live]]'' and ''Grill It! with Bobby Flay''. In the latter, he prepares a ribeye steak and his favorite vidalia onion recipe with butter and garlic which he describes as what ''Sesame Street'' would call a "[[Is Cookie Monster now the Veggie Monster?|sometime food]]."
* Clash made [[Muppeteers_in_Non-Henson_Acting_Roles#Kevin_Clash|an appearance]] on The CW's ''The Game'' in the 2009 episode "Do the Wright Thing" as the on-camera puppeteer of Mookie. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZNsnow48RM&t=4m45s]
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* Clash made [[Muppeteers_in_Non-Henson_Acting_Roles#Kevin_Clash|an appearance]] on The CW's ''The Game'' in the 2009 episode "Do the Wright Thing" as the on-camera puppeteer of Mookie.
   
 
==Awards & honors==
 
==Awards & honors==
* Kevin won [[Daytime Emmy Awards]] for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for his work as Elmo and Hoots the Owl on ''Sesame Street'' in 1990, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007.
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* Kevin won [[Daytime Emmy Awards]] for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for his work as Elmo and Hoots the Owl on ''Sesame Street'' in 1990, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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* [[Tough Pigs]] - [http://www.toughpigs.com/a-video-interview-with-kevin-clash/ A Video Interview with Kevin Clash]
 
* [[Tough Pigs]] - [http://www.toughpigs.com/a-video-interview-with-kevin-clash/ A Video Interview with Kevin Clash]
   
<gallery widths="600" position="center" bordercolor="transparent" hideaddbutton=true>
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[[File:Kevin_Elmo_outside.jpg|center|670px]]
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{{DEFAULTSORT:Clash, Kevin}}
 
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Latest revision as of 19:43, April 16, 2014

Kc elmo
Kevin-Clash-Elmo

Kevin Jeffrey Clash[1] (b. September 17, 1960) is an accomplished puppeteer whose characters include Elmo, Clifford and Hoots the Owl. He served as Sesame Street Muppet Captain and co-executive producer for several years, and was promoted to "senior creative advisor" at Sesame Workshop in May 2007.[2] The 2011 documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey chronicles Clash's life as a puppeteer.

Clash resigned from Sesame Street in November 2012 in response to two allegations that he had sexual relationships with teenage boys.[3]

Sesame Workshop released a statement about Clash's resignation on November 20:

"Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street. This is a sad day for Sesame Street."[3]

BackgroundEdit

Kevin Clash in The News American
Clash in The News American news clipping, the first article to feature him.

Clash was born and raised in Turner's Station, a predominantly black suburb of Baltimore, Maryland.[4]

Clash grew up with parents George and Gladys, older siblings George Jr. ("Georgie") and Anita ("NeNe"), and little sister Pam. His father works as a flash welder operator at Raymond Metals and a neighborhood handyman, and his mother ran a daycare.[5]

Clash began building puppets at the age of ten. Clash's parents were supportive of his interest in puppetry, driving him to puppet shows, allowing for his love of television and craft, and not urging him to attend college when he announced he was pursuing puppetry professionally. Among his television viewing were such series as Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, and H.R. Pufnstuf. Clash has admitted he watched television inches away from the screen, with no permanent eye damage.[5] His parents were supposedly more amused than angered when he cut apart his father's good overcoat to create a monkey puppet with the fuzzy black lining.[5] As a tribute, Elmo's parents were named George and Gladys in an Elmo's World segment; their names have since been changed.

He performed on Baltimore's Harbor Front as a teenager. In high school, he was voted "Most Likely to be a Millionaire."

Early television workEdit

KC-GreatSpaceCoaster
Clash with Artie from Captain Kangaroo

Clash's first television work was for a CBS affiliate in Baltimore. He also performed a pelican character for Zep, a local Washington, D.C. show airing on WTOP.

In the early '80s, he performed regularly, with Jim Martin, on Bob Keeshan's Wake Up with the Captain, a continuation of Captain Kangaroo. Clash performed a young boy named Artie and other characters, built puppets, and occasionally appeared on-camera, as Kevin the college student and various ensemble roles.

From 1981 to 1986, he appeared in The Great Space Coaster, as Goriddle Gorilla, Rory and Huggle Scuffy. During this stint, he attracted the attention of Muppet designer Kermit Love, who invited him to work on various Henson projects.

Coming to the MuppetsEdit

Clash-Henson
Clash and Jim Henson.
Jh-kermit-legs-web
Clash assists Henson on Kermit the Frog.
Bts tmcjh
Clash with Frank Oz filming The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson.

Kevin Clash first met Kermit Love in the 1970s, who occasionally arranged for the fledgling puppeteer to visit the set of Sesame Street. In 1979, the main Muppet performers were performing in a Muppet Movie float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and extra puppeteers were needed for the Sesame Street float. Clash was brought in to perform Cookie Monster for the event.[5]

Later, in 1983, he was officially hired to perform in ten episodes of Sesame Street. However, at the time he was performing full-time on two other shows, and the producers of both refused to work around his schedule. Thus, Clash was forced to tear up his contract to appear on Sesame Street.[5]

Kevin Clash was also given the opportunity to perform in The Dark Crystal, but Kermit Love dissuaded him, urging Clash to concentrate on his other series work.

Kevin Clash officially became a Sesame Street puppeteer in 1984. Some of his earliest characters included Hoots the Owl and Dr. Nobel Price, later supplemented by the likes of Baby Natasha and Kingston Livingston III. However, it was Elmo who became his main character, once Clash assumed the part from previous puppeteers Brian Muehl and Richard Hunt, and placed his own imprint on the red monster. Clash has also sung in voice-over in a variety of film and cartoon inserts on the series, including "Skin", "Animal Books", and "Take Care of That Smile."

Clash served as an additional Muppet performer on Follow That Bird, where he performed the voice of one of the feathered friends,[6] and reprised Elmo, along with other characters, in the feature film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland and innumerable specials, appearances, and videos.

More MuppetsEdit

During the late 1980s, Clash was involved with a variety of Henson productions. He performed P.J. in the Play-Along videos, and Father Bunny and Be-Bop in Tale of the Bunny Picnic. He would also perform Eliot Shag on Dog City, various characters in Muppet Time insertitials. He also performed the title character in the Muppet Sing-Along video Billy Bunny's Animal Songs.

Clash became one of the main Muppet performers on The Jim Henson Hour. His two main characters on the series were the lizard-like Leon and the bass player Clifford. Out of these two, only Clifford has remained a major character, subsequently appearing in The Muppets at Walt Disney World, The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, a guest spot on The Arsenio Hall Show, the albums Muppet Beach Party and Kermit Unpigged, and the feature films Muppets from Space and The Muppets Wizard of Oz. However, Clifford became a star when he hosted the short-lived Muppets Tonight, for which Clash also performed Mulch and Craniac.

Clash performed in many of the recent Muppet films, including Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets Wizard of Oz. In Muppet Treasure Island, he performed one of the main villains, Polly Lobster, as well as Spa'am and Black Dog. He also performed many of Frank Oz's characters in many scenes, and Frank Oz performed the voices later. Although he performed the Sam the Eagle puppet but not the voice in Muppet Treasure Island, he would later perform the characters voice, but not the puppetry, in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (John Kennedy did the actual puppeteering), as well as in the video game Muppets Party Cruise.

Creature Shop WorkEdit

Prell-Clash-Labyrinth
Karen Prell and Clash manipulate a Fiery in Labyrinth.

Clash's worked on Jim Henson's fantasy film Labyrinth. Clash provided puppeteered and voiced the lead Fiery, while also operating Ambrosius and one of The Four Guards. Clash also worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, supplying the face and voice of Splinter.

On Dinosaurs, Clash starred as Baby Sinclair, and also played Howard Handupme and various episodic mammals.

Reflecting on his decades as a puppeteer, in the fall of 2006, Kevin Clash released an autobiography titled My Life as a Furry Red Monster.

InterviewsEdit

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation interviewed Clash in 2004 for the Archive of American Television. The two-hour interview was posted on YouTube in 2008.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Performance CreditsEdit

PuppeteerEdit

Performer.kevinclash
ElmoKevinClash
KevinClashMuppetGroup
Kevin Clash with Hoots, Elmo, Clifford, and Ace Yu.
Kevin1
Clash and Elmo.
Kevin-clash-emmy
Clash and one of his many Emmy Awards.
Clash-carrara
Clash and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph perform on Sesame Street with Caroll Spinney as Big Bird.
KevinClash-Elmo-closeup
ElmoKevinClashFurryArmsHotel

Animation voicesEdit

Production creditsEdit

DirectorEdit

ProducerEdit

OtherEdit

NotesEdit

  • His daughter Shannon was born in 1993.[7] As a little girl, she thought Elmo was her brother. Later on:
[Laughs, impersonating his daughter] “Hi Daddy, can I speak to Elmo?” “Yeah, yeah, Okay.” [In Elmo's voice] “Hi Shannon.” “Hi Elmo — listen there’s this new Barbie that I… ” [Laughs] Let me tell you, Shannon has earned many more Emmys than I have with her dramatics … I’d take my Emmy and put it down on the floor. [Applauding] “Oh, you deserve this, girl.”[8]
  • During his tenure as the character, Kevin Clash rarely appeared on talk shows without Elmo. One of the few instances in which he appeared on television as himself was on The Oprah Winfrey Show, in a 2006 episode, "The Faces Behind the Famous Names".
  • He made a longer appearance on the July 11, 2006 broadcast of Rove Live performing Elmo first and later appearing as himself with Elmo. Other appearances on TV as himself include Emeril Live and Grill It! with Bobby Flay. In the latter, he prepares a ribeye steak and his favorite vidalia onion recipe with butter and garlic which he describes as what Sesame Street would call a "sometime food."
  • Clash made an appearance on The CW's The Game in the 2009 episode "Do the Wright Thing" as the on-camera puppeteer of Mookie.

Awards & honorsEdit

  • Kevin won Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series for his work as Elmo and Hoots the Owl on Sesame Street in 1990, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  1. Kevin Clash - Archive Interview Part 1 of 4
  2. "Workshop promotes Elmo", C21Media, 16 May 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Jensen, Elizabeth and Stelter, Brian. "Kevin Clash, Elmo Puppeteer, Resigns", The New York Times Media Decoder blog. November 20, 2012.
  4. While locals referred to it as Turner's Station, its official name is Turner Station.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud.
  6. Clash, Kevin The MuppetCast Episode 48
  7. Elisa Chia, "Meet the grown-up behind Elmo", 31 July 2006.
  8. Anthony Breznican, "Sundance: 'Being Elmo' reveals big-hearted man behind the fur", Entertainment Weekly, January 28, 2011.

External linksEdit


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