Photo of Jerry Nelson Jerry Nelson

The man and voice behind a menagerie of colorful Muppet characters, Jerry Nelson was schooled as an actor but fell into puppet work while he was between stage roles.

Born July 10, 1934, in Tulsa, Okla., Nelson grew up in Washington, D.C., where he first met Jim Henson. The two began a long and fruitful creative collaboration when Nelson became a regular on "Sesame Street" during the landmark show's second season in 1970. Though best known for his portrayal of Count von Count (whose personality was inspired by Béla Lugosi's Count Dracula), Nelson also performed Herry Monster, Sherman Hemlock, Sgt. Floyd Pepper and Kermit the Frog's nephew, Robin.

In addition to his Muppets alter-egos, Nelson performed Gobo and Marjory the Trash Heap on "Fraggle Rock" (1983-87), while his films include voice work in The Dark Crystal (1982), The Christmas Toy (1986) and The Muppets (2011). Nelson died Aug. 23, 2012.

Jerry Nelson in The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal

1982 PG

Master Muppeteers Jim Henson and Frank Oz co-direct this classic fantasy film that tells the mythical tale of Jen, the last of the Gelfling race, who is charged with healing the Crystal of Truth after its mutilation ushered in an era of terror at the hands of the wicked Skeksis. Jen must find a missing shard in the observatory of an ancient astronomer before the Skesis are given the power to rule for all eternity.

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