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    NOTE: This page is dedicated to the late Jerry Nelson (1934-2012) and Richard Hunt (1951-1992).

    "Elmo loves you."
    Gender: Male
    Type: Friendly Red Monster
    Age: 3 ½
    Species: Monster
    Portrayed by: Jerry Nelson (early 1980s)
    Kathryn Mullen (early 1980s)
    Brian Muehl (1980–1984)
    Richard Hunt (1984–1985)
    Kevin Clash (1985-2012)
    Ryan Dillon (2013-present)
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: Sesame Street

    Elmo is a Muppet character for the children's television show Sesame Street who normally refers to himself in the third person. His popularity led to his own segments on Sesame Street beginning with "Elmo's World."


    Elmo is a 3½-year-old red monster with a high pitched voice and a contagious giggle. Enthusiastic, friendly and cheerful, he always wants to be part of everything that goes on. However, like most preschoolers, he sometimes doesn't have the skills or knowledge to do what he wants. But that never stops him because he has a very positive, optimistic view of himself and life. Elmo's best friends are Zoe and Abby, and also his pet goldfish Dorothy. Elmo loves eating his favorite food, wasabi. He also loves riding on his tricycle and being tickled.

    Furry Red Qualities

    1. Elmo is a curious red monster with a big imagination.
    2. Elmo's curiosity motivates him to learn new things and explore the world around, aligning with Sesame Street's educational mission.
      • For example, in Elmo’s World, Elmo educates kids on a certain topic and motivates them to use their imagination to explore the world around them.
    3. Kevin Clash and Ryan Dillon do great jobs voicing him, and they both make his voice iconic.
    4. Elmo's optimistic outlook helps create a positive atmosphere on Sesame Street. While he may not be as perfect as Big Bird, Elmo is genuinely nice, considerate, and inquisitive to others.
    5. When Elmo makes a mistake, he learns from them pretty well, even as a toddler.
    6. Elmo helps Big Bird reveal Snuffy to everyone to prove that Snuffy isn't Big Bird's imaginary friend after all.
    7. While Elmo normally talks third person because he's only a toddler and that's obvious that children his age don't know how to speak properly yet, Elmo sometimes talks in first person, such as in song or via indirect comments.
    8. While Elmo mainly encourages happiness, he can also provide a variety of emotions. For example, similar to Big Bird coping with Mr. Hooper’s death, in When Familes Grieve, Elmo learns that it’s okay to feel sad when you miss someone or something, but it can make you feel better when you have good memories about them; in that case, Uncle Jack’s baseball cap still is in Elmo’s apartment to this day.
    9. He, like Big Bird, is one of the more popular characters created during the show's run, mainly his adventures and interests that children can easily identify with.

    "Rocco Is Not Alive!" Qualities

    1. Some people criticize that Elmo's prominence has overshadowed several characters. However, by 2012, characters like Cookie Monster and Grover began to appear more on the show, even in street stories, and they also get some of his share of appearances.
    2. While Elmo is genuinely nice, considerate, and inquisitive, as mentioned, he can be considered a butt-monkey, especially in the scenes when he hangs out with Zoe holding a rock named Rocco. However, this is played for entertainment purposes, and can be funny.
    3. Some people may find Elmo's voice annoying, and his third person speech demented.
    4. He was slightly flanderized in Elmo's World where he treats the show's target audience as if they had the mind of a goldfish in a similar manner as other preschool show characters who try to compete with Sesame Street (such as Barney & Friends and Blue's Clues), similar to what Ernie and Bert, Grover, and Prairie Dawn do in Play With Me Sesame, and Big Bird in Journey to Ernie.
      • However, like with Ernie, Bert, Prairie Dawn, Grover, and Big Bird, this was most likely intentional, as to educate kids.
    5. Sometimes, Elmo can be unlikable.
      • Episode 3430 (Elmo's crying game)
      • In Kids' Guide to Life: Learning to Share, Elmo initially refuses to share his toy train set with Zoe, but later, he understands that sharing is caring.


    • The character of Elmo was originally conceived as a supporting character and background character by Henson Associates-based Muppet artist/builder Caroly Wilcox in 1979, first appearing in the Sesame Street song "We Are All Monsters", which first aired in a Season 11 episode during 1980.
    • Elmo was performed by a rotating ensemble of Muppet performers such as Jerry Nelson and Kathryn Mullen while he was a background character in such Sesame Street segments from 1980 to 1984. As a named character, Elmo was performed by Brian Muehl from 1980 to 1984, and later Richard Hunt from 1984 to 1985 upon Muehl's departure.
    • When Hunt wasn't too happy with Elmo in 1985, he exchanged his role to Kevin Clash, who then performed Elmo. Clash said that Elmo should be a character who is kind and loving.


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