Jerry Nelson, born July 10, 1934, is not a man you’d readily know. His name is not ‘household’ and yet he is responsible for a character that everyone born from the early seventies onwards will know – without exception.
Jerry’s career saw him behind the scenes at Jim Henson’s studios where he brought us the equally amusing and irritating ‘Count von Count‘ of Sesame Street fame (I had a slightly different name for him in my youth). His repertoire didn’t end there though; he played one, ahahahahaaa, character, two ahahahahaaaa, characters (ok I’ll stop that) in The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock.
The puppeteer played a huge array of roles spanning a nigh on 40 year career, not only in the TV shows but also in Henson’s many Muppet related movies.
I have to thank him for my own OCD, for after watching Sesame Street as a kid I started counting every step I took, every step on staircases, how many anythings were on an anything, etc. You get the picture. Yeah, the count has a lot to answer for.
Sadly, Jerry suffered with a host of illnesses, foremost of which was emphysema; a respiratory illness which is common among smokers but can also occur in people who lack a specific type of protein.
Further down the line he developed cancer which spread to various parts of his system and the combination of the two illnesses was too much for his body to cope with. On August 23, 2012, he died as a result of complications with both.
Love him or hate him, Jerry leaves behind a lasting legacy that this current generation will always remember and, hopefully for him, cherish as a fond childhood memory.