Kevin Jeffrey Clash (born September 17, 1960) is a voice actor and puppeteer whose characters include Elmo, Baby Sinclair, Clifford, Splinter and Hoots the Owl. He currently serves as Sesame Street Muppet Captain and co-executive producer.
In the fall of 2006, Clash released an autobiography titled My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud.
Coming to the Muppets
Kevin Clash first met puppet-builder Kermit Love in the year 1978. Kermit Love was occasionally able to arrange for Kevin Clash to visit the set of Sesame Street. In 1979, the main Muppet performers were performing in the bus seen in Muppet Movie the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and extra puppeteers were needed for the Sesame Street float, so Kevin Clash got to perform Cookie Monster in the parade.
Later, in 1983, he was officially hired to perform in ten episodes of Sesame Street. However, at the time Clash was performing full-time on two other shows, and the producers of both shows refused to work around his schedule, so he was forced to tear up his contract to appear on Sesame Street.
Kevin Clash was also given the opportunity to perform in The Dark Crystal, but Kermit Love talked him out of being involved in the movie, saying that he should concentrate on his work in the series with which he was currently involved.
Kevin Clash officially became a puppeteer on Sesame Street in 1984. Some of his earliest characters included Hoots the Owl, Baby Natasha, and Dr. Nobel Price, but it was Elmo who became his main character. Clash has also sung in voice-over in a variety of film and animation songs on Sesame Street, including "In My Animal Book" and "Take Care of That Smile". 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 Eliott Shag on Dog City, various characters in Muppet Time insertials, and he performed a number of characters—most notably Baby Sinclair -- but also Howard Handupme, on Dinosaurs. He also performed the title character in the Muppet Sing-Along video Billy Bunny's Animal Songs.
The Jim Henson Hour
Clash became one of the main Muppet performers on The Jim Henson Hour. His two main characters on that show were the lizard-like Leon and the bass player Clifford. Of these two, only Clifford has remained a major character, having also appeared in The Muppets at Walt Disney World; The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson; an appearance 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. On that show, Clash also performed Mulch and Craniac.
Clash's film credits include Jim Henson's fantasy film Labyrinth; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze; The Muppet movies Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz; and the Sesame Street films Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.
Clash was co-executive producer for Elmopalooza, co-producer for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, and co-executive producer for CinderElmo and Elmo's World. He has also served as either puppet coordinator, assistant puppet coordinator, or puppet captain on many productions, including Labyrinth, Muppet Treasure Island, The Puzzle Place, Big Bag and Dog City.
- Muppet Characters: Black Dog, Carter, Clifford, Leon, Mulch, Polly Lobster, Real Old Tom, Spa'am, Sam the Eagle (in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie)
- Sesame Street Characters: Elmo, Baby Tooth, Benny Rabbit, Hoots the Owl, Kingston Livingston III, Mel, Natasha, Wolfgang the Seal, Ferlinghetti Donizetti, The Big Bad Wolf (several '80s Sesame Street News Flash skits), The Duck
- Sesame Beginnings: Baby Elmo
- Dinosaurs: Baby Sinclair, Howlin' Jay, Dinosaur Chief (face), Ethyl (sometimes, puppetry only), Howard Handupme, Monster (face), Mr. Ashland (face), Pterodactyl (puppetry only)
- Dog City (special): Ace Yu
- Dog City (series): Eliot Shag
- Labyrinth: Fiery 1, Ambrosius (puppetry only), One of The Four Guards (puppetry only)
- Muppet Sing-A-Long: Billy Bunny's Animal Songs: Billy Bunny
- The Tale of the Bunny Picnic: Be-Bop, Father
- The Great Space Coaster: Goriddle Gorilla (voice)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Splinter
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland: Grouch Jailer and Pestie
- A Sesame Street Christmas Carol: Sam the Super Automated Ghost of Christmas Future (voice only)
- Follow That Bird: Additional Muppet Performer
Awards & honors
- Clash 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, 2006, 2007 and 2009.
- He was the first recipient of the 'Miss Jean' Worthley Award for Service to Families and Children given by Maryland Public Television on June 9, 2007.
References and footnotes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 What Elmo Has taught You About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud
- ↑ TV : Grill It! with Bobby Flay : Rib Eye Steaks : Food Network (Accessed 2008-08-09)
- Kevin Clash at the Internet Movie Database
- Downloadable 15-minute interview with Kevin Clash from Wisconsin Public Television Kevin Clash talks about the development of his love of puppetry, how he became Elmo and what it's like to voice the most popular toy ever.
- CNN profile an in-depth interview with photos for Black History Month
- 'Sesame Street' Turns 35: Kevin Clash and Elmo audio interview on National Public Radio
- Muppet wiki: Kevin Clash