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U. P. I.


Richard Hunt, Muppet performer, dies

January 8, 1992

Richard Hunt, a Muppet performer whose characters included Scooter, Statler, Janice, Beaker, Forgetful Jones and Junior Gorg, died Tuesday at Mother Cabrini Hospice in Manhattan of AIDS- related complictions. He was 40.

“Everyone at Jim Henson Productions shares this profound loss with Richard's family,'' said Brian Henson, president of the company.

''Richard and his many characters have been an integral part of our group for more than 20 years. His endless talents, great wit and indomitable spirit will be deeply missed by all of us.''

Henson said Tuesday's taping of ''Sesame Street'' was canceled in Hunt's memory.

Hunt was the voice and sometimes the animator of characters on the ''Sesame Street'' and ''The Muppet Show'' television series and ''Fraggle Rock,'' the Emmy award-winning musical TV fantasy. He also performed in Henson films and the 3-D show at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park.

He directed episodes of ''Sesame Street' and ''Fraggle Rock'' and appeared as a human character in two films, ''Trading Places'' and ''Oxford Blues.''

His first job on graduation from high school in his native New York was preparing weather reports for radio disc jockey Cousin Brucie Morrow. He got fed up with meteorology after four months and spent a lot of time at home watching The Muppets.

''Then one day, I thought, 'Hey, why don't I try to get with them','' he once recalled.

He sought an introduction to the late Jim Henson, who created The Muppets, and Henson invited him to participate in a workshop production to see if he had any talent for the job. He did, and Henson put him to work puppeteering in the 1970 television special, ''The Great Santa Claus Switch.''

In 1972, he was assigned to work on ''Sesame Street'' and remained a Muppet the rest of his life.

Funeral services will be private a memorial service was being planned for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Feb. 2.

Hunt is survived by his mother, Jane Hunt, of New York, three sisters, Kathleen, Lyn and Rachel, and a brother, Adam.

Copyright 1992 U.P.I.

This article was found on the Lexis-Nexis database.


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