Jerry Juhl, longtime writer for the Muppets, died of cancer Sept. 27 in San Francisco. He was 67.
Juhl won two Emmys for his work on “Sesame Street” and one for “The Muppet Show.” When the Muppets moved to the bigscreen, he co-wrote “The Muppet Movie” and went on to co-write “The Great Muppet Caper,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “Muppet Treasure Island” and “Muppets From Space.”
From an early age, Juhl made puppets and performed puppet shows. Born in St. Paul, Minn., he moved to Menlo Park, Calif. as a teenager. While attending San Jose State U. as a theater arts major, he puppeteered on children’s shows for local television stations and became a member of a local performing troupe where he met teenager Frank Oz. The two met Jim Henson at a puppeteer gathering in 1961, and soon after, Juhl joined the Jim Henson Company.
Juhl worked on Henson’s first television show, “Sam and Friends” as a puppeteer and writer. Throughout the 60s, he worked closely with Henson on sketches for variety shows like “The Mike Douglas Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.” He spent six seasons as a writer for “Sesame Street,” which began in 1969.
As head writer of “The Muppet Show,” he recieved awards in 1978 and 1979 from the Writer’s Guild of America for episodes with Marisa Berenson and Liza Minnelli. His other Emmy came for the dance marathon episode of “The Muppet Show” with Carol Burnett. The series won a Peabody in 1978. Juhl was also head writer and creative producer for “Fraggle Rock” for five seasons.
He is survived by his wife Susan and a brother.
Donations be made in Jerry Juhl’s name to the Caspar, Calif. Community Center (www.CasparCommons.org).