Longtime “Sesame Street” writer Judy Freudberg, who co-created the show’s “Elmo’s World” segment and also scripted animated features “An American Tail” and “The Land Before Time,” died of a brain tumor in New York on Sunday, June 10. She was 62.
Freudberg also co-scripted with Tony Geiss the 1985 feature “Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird” and penned a large number of straight-to-video “Sesame Street” specials. She and Geiss co-scripted “An American Tail” and shared story credit on “The Land Before Time.”
For her work on “Sesame Street” since 1975 Freudberg shared 17 Daytime Emmys.
Freudberg’s “four decades with ‘Sesame Street’ brought laughter, music and learning to children every day,” the cast, crew and producers of “Sesame Street” said in a statement. “Judy’s words and stories will continue to entertain and bring joy to generations of young children to come throughout the world.”
The “Elmo’s World” segments, for which she was head writer, introduced a character that become extraordinarily popular in the 1990s.
Freudberg penned hundreds of segments for “Sesame Street,” some of which featured celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Bill Irwin, BB King, Jodie Foster, Ellen DeGeneres, Maya Angelou, Shari Lewis, Gregory Hines and Susan Sarandon.
In celebration of “Sesame Street’s” 35th anniversary, Freudberg co-wrote, with Lou Berger, the primetime special “Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On,” which was nominated for an Emmy for children’s program.
Freudberg’s other credits include several Sesame Street books.
Born in Memphis, Freudberg graduated from Syracuse U. with a degree in speech and dramatic arts. She began working at “Sesame Street” producer the Children’s Television Workshop in 1971, first as a typist, then as a production assistant and eventually as a writer.
She is survived by two sisters and a brother.