Characters: Sesame Street

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Abby Cadabby

Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (2006-present)
A fairy who moved to Sesame Street during season 37. She's a three year-old fairy in training, who attends the Flying Fairy School.

Baby Bear

David Rudman (1990-present)
The smallest of the Three Bears. (Later, the second-smallest of the Four Bears.)


Toby Towson (1977-1978)
Brian Muehl (1978-1984)
Fred Garver (1984-1993)
Bruce Connelly (1993-present)
This large, playful Muppet dog is Linda's pet, who understands American Sign Language. Unlike Rowlf, Barkley is not anthropomorphized. When he debuted in Season 9, he was known as Woof Woof. In Season 10, he became Barkley after one episode dealt with changing his name by popular vote.


Frank Oz (regularly 1969-1997, occassionally 1997-present)
Eric Jacobson (1997-present)
Long-suffering roommate and Blue Oni to Ernie's Red Oni. Bert would generally prefer to be left alone with a book than put up with his friend's shenanigans.

Big Bird

Caroll Spinney (1969-present)
Daniel Seagren (understudy in a handful of episodes dating to 1970)
Matt Vogel (understudy, 1998-present over roughly 20 episodes)
An inexplicably large, yellow bird, perpetually stuck at age 6. Mr. Snuffleupagus is his best friend.
  • A Bird Named Bird
  • Breakout Character: Is the star of the first official Sesame Street movie Follow That Bird, starred in a special where he travels to China, and is the star of other merchandise items such as storybooks, cassette tapes or records. Possibly the first breakout character before Elmo.
  • Cassandra Truth: The adults constantly disbelieved Snuffleupagus was real at first. See The Reveal under ''Mr. Snuffleupagus"
  • Characterization Marches On: He was initally a fully grown idiot with a hick-like Simpleton Voice to match rather than the innocent Man Child he eventually became.
  • The Cutie: Even in the context of Sesame Street his innocence and sweetness stand out.
  • Gentle Giant
  • Hidden Depths: During the famous episode centered on the death of Mr. Hooper, Big Bird draws various caricatures of the adults - of a quality that you may not normally see from a typical 6-year-old.
    • Caroll Spinney is a cartoonist and painter in his down time, overlapping with The Cast Showoff.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    Gordon: Why are you walking that way?
    Big Bird: "Just because."
    (Big Bird learns of Mr. Hooper's death)
    Big Bird: "Why does it have to be this way?"
    Gordon: "Big Bird, it has to be this way because."
    Big Bird: "Just because?"
    Gordon: "Just because."
  • Start My Own: Because Oscar wouldn't let him join the Grouchketeers.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Birdseed, which he eats (or in the case of birdseed milkshakes, drinks) in seemingly infinite variations.
  • Vocal Evolution: Big Bird started off as a fully-grown Village Idiot with a deep, hick-like voice. Over time, however, he became a young child of five (or six, depending on when you were watching the show) with a higher-pitched voice. Because the show reuses its old recordings of songs in later episodes, it can be very jarring to hear Big Bird sing the "Alphabet Song" in his "hick" voice in an episode from c.1975 or later.

Cookie Monster

Frank Oz (regularly 1969-2001, occassionally 2001-present)
David Rudman (2001-present)
The very incarnation of gluttony.

Count von Count

Jerry Nelson (1972-2012, voice; 1972-2004, puppetry)
Matt Vogel (2012-present, voice; 2004-present, puppetry)
An Ambiguously Undead purple guy with fangs, a Romanian accent, and a love of counting. He lives in a castle with a number of bats and has been seen dating various Countesses.

Don Music

Richard Hunt (1974-1992)
A frustrated composer who cannot think of a rhyme and he gets into a meltdown and ends up hitting his head on the piano. Kermit the Frog is always helping him for suggestions.
  • Catch Phrase: I'LL NEVER GET IT! NEVER! NEVER! NEVER! (Slams his head on the piano)
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The character was banned from rerunning in 1998 when parents send in hate mail to Children's Television Workshop because their kids were hitting their heads at home.


Various (197?-1984)
Kevin Clash (1984-2012)
Ryan Dillon (2012-present)
A 3½-year-old monster who speaks in a high-pitched voice and eschews pronouns. Host of the "Elmo's World" and "Elmo: The Musical" segments and the object of 1996's Tickle-Me-Elmo craze.


Jim Henson (1969-1990)
Steve Whitmire (1990-present)

An enthusiastic, extroverted prankster who's Bert's roommate and Red to Bert's Blue.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet: His rubber duckie.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Bert asks him to make a shopping list, and the only thing Ernie can find to write with is chocolate pudding. Ernie then makes a list of every writing implement that he couldn't find, adding pudding to the list.
    Bert: "He's improving. Last time he used spaghetti sauce."
  • Crazy-Prepared: In this skit.
  • The Gadfly: He loves to prank, trick and tease Bert. Much of his random weird behavior is just done to mess with his friend, because it's funny when Bert gets frustrated.
  • Hidden Depths: He lays down an amazing saxophone solo during "Put Down the Duckie."
  • I Can't Hear You: "I can't hear you, Bert. I have a banana in my ear."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Well, yeah — you wouldn't think so, but Ernie is a far bigger jerk than Bert. Watching the Bert & Ernie skits, it's sometimes surprising to see just how badly Ernie treats his best friend, often for no good reason at all. He plays tricks on him, makes a fool out of him, steals his snacks or cruelly tempts Bert with snacks before eating them himself, and in general causing him no end of frustration, humiliation and heartache. When Ernie still comes across as the most likeable and friendly of the two, it's because, well, he is a genuinely sunny and affable person who just wants to have fun and share a laugh with people. He's never malicious, just a little insensitive.
  • Jim Henson: Jim was succeeded by Steve Whitmire, who also took over Jim's other, similar-sounding role (Kermit).
  • Odd Couple: With Bert.
  • The Prankster
  • Signature Laugh: "Kshshshshshshshsh!"
  • Something Only They Would Say: The game "Journey to Ernie" runs on this trope.
  • You Imagined It: No, he didn't. He really did have an encounter with a living statue.

Forgetful Jones

Michael Earl Davis, Richard Hunt

A cowboy with poor memory.


Frank Oz (regularly 1970-1998, occassionally 1998-present)
Eric Jacobson (1998-present)

A well-meaning, multitalented monster who suffers more humiliation and injury than the rest of the cast combined.

Guy Smiley

Jim Henson (1969–1990)
Steve Whitmire (1998)
Eric Jacobson (2005–present)

A manic television personality who emcees whatever TV shows need emceeing.

Harvey Kneeslapper

Frank Oz (1971-1977)
Matt Vogel (2010)

A bug-eyed character who specialized in jokes, both verbal and practical.

Herbert Birdsfoot

Jerry Nelson (1970-1974)

A mild-mannered, bespectacled lecturer who usually appeared in conjunction with either Grover or Cookie Monster.
  • The Generic Guy
  • Nice Guy
  • Put on a Bus: Due to concerns about his appearances in commercial entertainment, Kermit wasn't used in the second season of Sesame Street, so Herbert was introduced to essentially fill the same role on the show. Once Kermit returned in Season 3, the now-superfluous Herbert was phased out.
  • Straight Man


Jerry Nelson (1970-2004)

A large, blue monster. Rarely appears these days.

Hoots the Owl

Kevin Clash (1985-2001, 2005)

An old bluesman and sax player.

Mr. Johnson

Jerry Nelson (1969-2012; voice, 1969-2004; puppetry)
Matt Vogel (2012-pressent; voice, 2004-present; puppetry)
A grumpy old customer of Charlie's restaurant where his waiter is Grover.

Kermit the Frog

Jim Henson (1955-1990 [the character predates Sesame Street])
Steve Whitmire (1990-present)

The Muppet Show's easily flustered host; here Kermit usually plays a roving news reporter in a trench coat. He also often attempts to give lectures to the audience that are inevitably ruined by another character.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kermit is usually friendly and even-tempered, but when he's pushed too far he can get very angry indeed.
  • Butt Monkey: Frequently the victim of Grover's bumbling and Cookie Monster's hedonism, among other misfortunes, almost to the point of being The Chew Toy.
  • Catch Phrase: "Heigh-ho, Kermit theee Frog here..."
    • Phrase Catcher: Grover's "HEYYYYY, FROGGY BAYBEEEEE!" backslap-greeting.
  • Call Back: He makes a surprise appearance in "Elmo's World: Frogs", where he is shown lounging in his apartment.
  • Continuity Nod: While preparing to interview Old MacDonald, Kermit tells one of the farmer's pigs, "You know, you remind me of somebody..." (a reference to The Muppet Show's Miss Piggy).
  • Cross Over: Kermit once made routine guest appearances, frequently playing off Grover and Cookie Monster. Alas, the frog seldom appears these days, due mainly to Disney owning the rights to the character.
  • Frogs and Toads
  • If You Can Read This: An actual cameraman is named on the slate in the Oklahoma! sketch.
  • Intrepid Reporter: During the "Sesame Street News Flash" segments.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: A running gag in the news segments.
  • Jim Henson: His definitive role; Kermit and Ernie aren't that different, acoustically speaking. This is especially apparent in Bert and Ernie's Muppet Show guest appearance, where Ernie appears and speaks immediately after Kermit introduces the pair.
  • Loud Gulp: The idea of a frog eating a fly makes him nauseous.
  • Somewhere, a Herpetologist Is Crying: This is Zigzagged in one scene, in which Bob lists frog facts, and Kermit insists that frogs act more like people, with human diets and apartment buildings.
  • Straight Man

The Amazing Mumford

Jerry Nelson (1971-2012)

A bumbling Stage Magician whose magic never works quite right.


Joey Mazzarino (2005-present)

A fluffy orange monster with a round, oversized jaw who rose to fame by hosting a variety of recurring segments; namely Word on the Street and Murray Has a Little Lamb. These are unique in that they're kept separate from the regular Sesame Street scenes by being set in the "real world" where Murray has largely unscripted scenes interacting with "normal" people.

Oscar the Grouch

Caroll Spinney (1969-present)

An irritable, antisocial Grouch who lives in a Bigger on the Inside trash can with his worm, Slimey,and his elephant Fluffy.
  • Anti-Role Model: One purpose of the character is to poke fun at irritable people. Which isn't to say that his irritation isn't justified sometimes.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: It's a species trait.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: He hates foods most would consider nice or healthy, but loves noxious combinations of food that are technically still edible... just really gross. Like sardine ice-cream. Again, it's a species trait.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: He was orange for a year. (Apparently he still would be, if he ever bathed.)
  • Grumpy Bear
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Every now and then, some of the mean-spirited pranks and schemes he pulls tend to backfire, where he may end up being the victim himself. Often happens when he's frustrated when targeting a rather slow-witted character with his pranks.
  • Jerk... Butt: The Muppet Wiki puts it best:
    Oscar's mission in life is to be as miserable and grouchy as possible, and pass that feeling on to everyone else. When a visitor knocks on his trash can — invariably interrupting him from a nap or an important task — Oscar greets them with a snarl. He complains that he wants to be left alone, although when he's left entirely to himself, he's dissatisfied — there isn't anybody around to irritate or complain to.
  • Kick the Dog
  • Manipulative Grouch
  • Morality Pet: Slimey
  • Nice Job Fixing It Grouchy: There does appear to be an occasional running gag, where as mentioned previously when his intended mean-spirited ways backfire, unwittingly causing rather pleasant and helpful results for other characters along with a few other schemes he may try to pull. Much to his dismay, of course.
  • The Nicknamer: As far as Oscar is concerned, Bob and Maria are Bright Eyes and Skinny, respectively.
  • The Pigpen
  • The Prankster
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: His relationship with Grungetta.
  • Slave to PR: One has to wonder if he'd be so concerned about being a "real Grouch" - or if he'd be so self-conscious anytime he says, does, or thinks something even remotely pleasant - if it weren't for Grouch society constantly stressing how Grouches are supposed to act.
  • Too Grouchy To Walk: He's rarely seen walking. When he needs to be transported somewhere, a garbageman named Bruno carries his can.
  • Trash of the Titans
  • Troll: He can definitely come off as this at numerous times.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Easily with any of the nice Sesame Street residents that like being sweet and chummy with him, especially Elmo, Telly, and Maria.
  • What the Heck, Hero?: He gets this reaction from Leela and Elmo for seeing the Mine-itis outbreak as a cause for celebration.
  • With Friends Like These...: Used to be this sort of "friend" to poor Telly.
    • Although, they seem to have fallen into a more traditional Type 1 Vitriolic Best Buds as of late.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Often inverted. As you may expect, he does not appreciate being praised by the other characters for doing something less-than-grouchy.

Prairie Dawn

Fran Brill (1971-present)

A small, pageant-obsessed girl who aspires to a career in journalism.

Roosevelt Franklin

Matt Robinson (1970-1975)
A young boy who appeared in seasons 1-7. Though popular, the character was dropped.


Carmen Osbahr (1991-present)
A bilingual monster who plays guitar. She was originally patterned after a fruit bat, but lost the wings in Season 35.
  • Continuity Nod: Luis taught her how to play the guitar, and she has retained that skill very well.
  • Gratuitous Spanish
  • Hair Decorations: A small yellow ribbon.
  • Mentors: Rosita takes Gina's son Marco under her wing, because he is Guatemalan.
  • Military Kid: Like Elmo, Rosita has to deal with having a military father. Her father comes home injured and confined to a wheelchair, and she has a hard time adjusting to the consequent changes.
  • True Blue Femininity

Sherlock Hemlock

Jerry Nelson (1970-1996)
A somewhat inept detective. Like many others, he's fallen by the wayside over the past decade or so.

Mr. Snuffleupagus

Front end:
Jerry Nelson (1971 - 1978)
Michael Earl (1978 - 1980)
Martin P. Robinson (1980 - present)
Back end:
Richard Hunt (1971-1975)
Peter Friedman (1976-1978)
Brian Muehl (1979)
Frank Kane (1979)
Bryant Young (1979-present)

A slow-talking, elephantlike creature and Big Bird's best friend.
  • Characterization Marches On: He started out with a rather odd and perpetually sad personality as well as speaking with a rather creepy, echoing, sad voice. It wasn't until when Marty Robinson took over the character that, though still sad occasionally, his personality became relatively more cheerful and his voice had a wider range of emotions.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Snuffle used to have wide yellow eyes with green sclera and was understandably changed to a different lazy eyed design as the debut appearance was... unsettling, to say the least.
  • The Eeyore: Used to be one of his defining character traits, but he steadily grew out of it as time went on.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Snuffy." He calls Big Bird "Bird."
  • Missed Him by That Much: In his early appearances, he'd wander off before anyone other than Big Bird could spot him, leading to speculation that he was BB's Imaginary Friend.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend
  • Precocious Crush/Interspecies Romance: Pre-dating the Elmo and Gina plot (see above), he had such a crush on Maria for a while.
  • Real After All: He is revealed to the adult cast 13 years after his debut, in order to encourage kids to be more honest with their parents. It was an emotional experience for the characters and actors.

Sonny Friendly

Richard Hunt (1986-1992)
David Rudman (1992-present)
A game show host who hosts his traveling game shows. He even hosted game show skits in the 90's.


Bob Payne (1979)
Brian Meuhl (1979-1984)
Martin P. Robinson (1984-present)
A mildly neurotic, easily discouraged monster. Was best friends with Oscar; now best friends with Baby Bear.

Two-Headed Monster

Peter Friedman and Richard Hunt (ca. 1978)
Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt (ca. 1980–1991)
Jerry Nelson and David Rudman (1992–2000)
Joey Mazzarino and David Rudman (2001–present)


Fran Brill (1993-present)
A monster who was added in the 1990s in order to add balance to a predominantly male cast.


A heterogeneous group of furry creatures, many of whom share the last name "Monster." Examples include Telly, Cookie, Herry, Grover, and Elmo.


A group of crusty, monster-like creatures indigenous to Grouchland.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: As mentioned under Oscar's entry, it's a species trait.
  • Bizarro Universe: Grouch society mirrors human society (right down to similar celebrities — Dan Rather-Not and Donald Grump, for example), but they prefer unhappiness and filth to happiness and cleanliness.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: As explained above, they dislike (often downright condemn) nice and pleasant things, and like things that most other people would find unpleasant. Although a bit odd, it sounds simple enough, right? Well, this also means that they like feeling miserable, and yet the nice things they hate make them miserable, which they like and... yeah. Try not to think about it too hard.
  • Grumpy Bears
  • Hate Being Touched
  • Planet of Hats
  • Stop Having Fun Guys

Honkers & Dingers

All the Muppeteers
Two species of Muppet, one with a bicycle horn for a nose and the other with a table bell on top of its head, which they use instead of speaking.


All the Muppeteers
Jellyfish-like, hovering aliens with antennae, severe underbite, and a distinctive "yip yip yip yip uh-huh uh-huh" sound.

Anything Muppets

The Anything Muppets (known internally as "AMs") are "blank" Muppets with interchangeable features and clothing, and allow puppeteers to create new characters without having to build the Muppets from scratch. Famous Anythings include Guy Smiley, the Count, and Prairie Dawn.

Miscellaneous Muppets

Sesame Street features a vast array of other Muppets ranging from animals, letters, and numbers to bathtubs and Singing Food.



Alan Muraoka (1998-present)
The current owner of Hooper's store.
  • Call Back: He debuted in the first episode to feature Elmo's World, when he hosted a huge Birdketeer meeting, and was in over his head. In the first episode to feature Elmo the Musical, he knows what he's dealing with, and tries to nip chaos in the bud during another big event.
  • Asian Store-Owner: The stereotypes are downplayed, though.
  • Hilarity Ensues: He tends to get dragged into Muppet hijinks.
  • Iconic Item: A dish towel, frequently on his shoulder.
  • Oh No: Ignites a grease fire in Hooper's while, causing Maria to evacuate herself and Elmo and call the FDNY
  • Supreme Chef
  • Welcome Episode: A proverbial baptism by fire: He successfully caters a Birdketeer meeting.
  • Written-In Absence: He goes on vacation for a few episodes.

Bob Johnson

Bob McGrath (1969-present)
An unassuming, low-key music teacher who lives in the apartment above Hooper's Store.

Chris Robinson

Christopher Lawrence Knowings (2007-present)
Gordon's nephew who came to Sesame Street looking for a job, and took one at Hooper's Store, to pay for college.

Gina Jefferson

Alison Bartlett O'Reilly (1987-present)
She started out as an assistant at Hooper's Store during The Eighties. A lot has changed since then.
  • Character Development: In the span of 24 years, she has assisted at Hooper's Store and a daycare, gone to veterinary school, opened a veterinary practice, and adopted her own son, Marco.
  • Instant Sedation: In one episode, books on the Letter of the Day and the Number of the Day have this effect on Marco.
  • Salt and Pepper: She and Savion were Just Friends.
  • Story Arc: The three-part episode "Gina Adopts a Baby". The original airdate was changed to coincide with National Adoption Month (November 2006).
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: It's more drawn out than usual, but Gina's occupation does change several times.


Matt Robinson (1969-1972)
Hal Miller (1972-1974)
Roscoe Orman (1974-present)
A father figure to the Muppets and kids on the street, and the de facto leader when things go wrong.

Mr. Hooper

Will Lee (1963-1983)
A grandfather figure to those around him, and the original owner of Hooper's Store.


Linda Bove (1972-2003)
A librarian and Bob's (apparent) girlfriend. Also deaf. Owner of Barkley.

Luis Rodriguez

Emilio Delgado (1971-present)
A Chicano who runs the Fix-It Shop with his wife, Maria.

Maria Rodriguez (née Figueroa)

Sonia Manzano (1971-present)
Maria worked as Luis' employee before settling down and marrying him.
  • Aborted Arc: She was hooked up with David until the mid-1980s.
  • Apple of Discord: She successfully petitions Luis for a raise (before marriage).
  • Aside Glance: One of the most noted characters of the human cast to do this, particularly when dealing with Muppet characters.
  • Charlie Chaplin: In the 1980s, she did many sketches dressed as Chaplin's "Little Tramp". Two of them featured Linda as a second Chaplin impersonator. Sonia Manzano wrote the sketches herself because as a college student she was a fan of Chaplin's films.
  • Dude Magnet: Even putting aside the number of older viewers who've credited her as their first crush, she's not only dated David and later married Luis, but has also been the subject of infatuation on the part of Snuffy, Placido Flamingo, and Stinky the Stinkweed.
  • Happily Married
  • Invisible Main Character: After Oscar spritzed her with "Disappear-O". Oscar's elephant made her visible again.
  • Mrs. Fixit
  • Promotion To Love Interest: After knowing Luis for 15 or so years.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Gorgeous in a dress, and consistently so.
  • Ship Sinking: Again, David and Maria, c. 1987.
  • Spicy Latina: Added to the cast at the behest of the Latino community.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Oscar.
  • Wacky Cravings: She shared and enjoyed a lunch with Oscar while pregnant.
  • Writer on Board: For a stretch of 20 years.

Mr. Noodle and family

Bill Irwin (1998-present)
Michael Jeter (1991-present) as Mr. Noodle's Brother
Kristin Chenoweth (2006-present) as Mr. Noodle's Sister
An oddly dressed Vaudevillian mime who lives outside the window of Elmo's World. The role is occasionally performed by Mr. Noodle's brother Mr. Noodle, his sister Miss Noodle, or his other sister Miss Noodle.
  • The Ditz: The Noodles' role is to provide a character to whom 3-year-old viewers can feel superior.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Of course, all the Noodles are pretty much interchangeable.
  • The Speechless: When a Noodle vocalizes, he or she usually produces a French horn or animal sound.

Olivia Robinson

Alaina Reed Hall (1976-1988)
Gordon's sister and a professional photographer.
  • Camera Fiend
  • The Cast Showoff: Alaina Reed's career began in Broadway musicals. She often took the opportunity to show off her singing chops.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She was not above taking good-natured jabs at her neighbors.
    (sees Big Bird's picture of David) A little young, don't you think?
  • Sassy Black Woman: A bit more outspoken than Susan.

Susan Robinson

Loretta Long (1969-present)
Gordon's wife and, as such, a maternal figure to those around her.

Uncle Wally

Bill McCutcheon (1984-1992)
Bob's humorous and warm-hearted uncle who loves to tell tall tales.