October 12, 2005 by

Jerry Juhl


Categories: Hollywood, Writers/Editors

Jerome Ravn Juhl was only 23 years old when he and his friend Frank Oz met Jim Henson at a puppeteer’s convention. That fateful encounter in 1961 helped both young men land their dream jobs.
Juhl became the first full-time employee of the Jim Henson Co. He worked as a puppeteer on the TV show, “Sam and Friends,” and spent six years writing for “Sesame Street” after it debuted in 1969. Juhl wrote scripts for Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, the Count and Big Bird, and created the character Super Grover. For his efforts, he won three Emmy Awards and two Writers Guild Awards.
Oz became Henson’s closest collaborator, and for years provided the voices of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Bert, Animal, Grover and the Cookie Monster. He later gave a voice to Yoda (“Star Wars”), and directed numerous feature films, such as “The Dark Crystal,” “In & Out” and “The Score.”
From 1977 to 1981, Juhl served as the head writer for “The Muppet Show.” He wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for every Muppet movie, including “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “Muppet Treasure Island” and “Muppets From Space.” Then in 1983, Juhl co-created “Fraggle Rock,” an idealistic puppet show that received critical acclaim for the four years it aired on HBO. Juhl’s wife, Susan Doerr Juhl, also worked as a writer and script editor on the program.
Born in St. Paul, Minn., Juhl always had a passion for puppetry. As a child, he made his own puppets and performed plays for his family and friends. While earning his bachelor’s degree in theater arts from San Jose State University in California, Juhl broke into show business by working on children’s shows for local TV stations.
Juhl died on Sept. 27 of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 67.

2 Responses to Jerry Juhl

  1. molly

    There is no way I can thank a person for teaching me table manners, how to share, how to count or how even monsters have fears. Thank you for making me laugh and making sure the Muppet Show as so good that my entire family would be home for dinner.
    My most sincere regrets and support go to your family.
    Thank you.

  2. Gordon Smuder

    In the time I knew Jerry, he never failed to teach me something every time we conversed. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone so true to himself or to his friends and colleagues than Jerry. He was a very rare commodity.
    Be well, Jerry, wherever you have gone.

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