Richard Hunt is known to audiences around the world through his performances as Scooter, Statler, Sweetums, Janice and Beaker on The Muppet Show. Richard’s Sesame Street characters included Don Music, Forgetful Jones, Sully, Gladys the Cow and Placido Flamingo.
In Fraggle Rock, Jim Henson’s Emmy award-winning musical fantasy for television, Richard was the personality, voice, mouth and eyes for Junior Gorg, one of the lumbering shaggy creatures that inhabited the Fraggle’s environment. His other Fraggle Rock characters include Gunge, Turbo Doozer and The Mean Genie.
Richard Hunt was literally a born actor: everyone hin his family has at some time worked in show business. His father, now deceased, was an actor, his brother a singer. His mother is also involved in show business and appeared in the Henson film, The Muppets Take Manhattan.
Richard always felt that he’d end up somewhere in the entertainment field, but the idea of puppeteering never occurred to him, although he adored the Muppets. “I’d drop anything to watch them," he said, “I thought they were weird.”
Still, he had no thought of adding his own zany personality to theirs when he went job hunting after his high school graduation. Through a friend, he landed in but not on, radio, preparing weather reports for a disc jockey Cousin Brucie Morrow. “My qualifications for it,” he admited [sic], “were absolutely zilch. I used to stick my hand out the window, feel what was going on out there and write the report!”
In spite of his sober dedication to science, Richard didn’t last long as a mini-meteorologist. “Four months of it was all I could take,” he said. “I decided to make a career of resting. I quit, went home, and watched more Muppets. Then one day I thought, Hey, why don’t I try to get with them?”
He arranged an introduction to Jim Henson, and a few weeks later was invited to participate in a workshop production. Richard, whose arm had never before hoisted anything more exotic than a baseball, found himself puppeteering.
Jim Henson called him back to work a Muppet appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Again the fledgling puppeteer rated high marks, and in June 1972, he was summoned once more, this time to work on Sesame Street.
From then on, Hunt was a Muppet, and added the big screen to his repertoire, working on the Henson films The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan and The Great Muppet Caper. He directed episodes of Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock and, in his spare time, appeared in two films -- Trading Places and Oxford Blues.
Richard Hunt passed away on January 7, 1992.