Sesame Street puppeteer Michael Earl dies.
The Daily Voice
By Sherrill Fulghum
December 24, 2015
Emmy Award winning Muppeteer Michael Earl died early in the afternoon of December 23 as a result of colon cancer at the age of 56. Earl had been fighting the disease for the past three years.
While Earl performed in a variety of productions, it is his role on “Sesame Street” as Mr. Snuffleupagus that he is best known. He joined the ranks of Jim Henson’s Muppet crew in 1978 at the age of 19. Earl spent the next 15 years in a variety of Muppet adventures.
Earl got an early start in the entertainment business by starring in a Curad bandage commercial when he was only five years old and then the as the “Is it Soup yet?” Lipton soup kid. He continued to appear in TV ads as a teen. Earl began creating his own puppets when he was eight and his puppeteering began at age 10. After hearing about Michael Earl from Mike Oznowicz – Frank Oz’s father – and Kermit Love; Jim Henson hired the 19 year old for his debut film “The Muppet Movie”. Earl then took over the Mr. Snuffleupagus duties from Jerry Nelson. Though he was never needed, Earl was the understudy for Big Bird – a role an 82 year old Caroll Spinney continues to play.
Earl says that his favorite Muppet to play was Oscar the Grouch’s pet Slimey the worm.
As a Muppet performer Earl’s credits include “Sesame Street”, “The Muppet Movie”, “John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together”, “The Dark Crystal”, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”, “Little Muppet Monsters”, “The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years”, “National Wildlife Federation” Public Service Announcement as a Muppet Penguin, the pilot episode of “The Jim Henson Hour”, the “Family Challenge” and “When Food Goes Bad” episodes of “Dinosaurs”, “Sesame Street: Sing Yourself Silly”, “Sesame Songs: Rock & Roll”, “Sesame Street: Learning about Numbers”, a Muppet performer in a Target commercial, a “Sesame Street” Muppet performer in the Eaton’s Santa Claus and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, and “Kermit: A Frog’s Life”.
But Michael Earl was much more than a member of the Muppet family. His other acting, puppeteering, voice over, and creative credits include “Team America: World Police”, a puppet alien in “Men in Black II”, “The Adventures of Timmy the Tooth”, “Ticktock Minutes”, ”Little Shop of Horrors”, “Michael Earl & Friends”, “An Evening with Michael Earl”, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Bil Baird’s Marionettes, Sid & Marty Kroftt’s “A Broadway Baby”, the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, “Shrek”, “Fame”, “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”, “Digimon Tamers”, and an M&M commercial.
During his career Earl has also worked with Whoopi Goldberg, Gregory Hines, and Victor Borge.
He was born Michael Earl Davis on September 10, 1959 in Oakland, California.
EARL, Michael (Michael Earl Davis)
Born: 9/10/1959, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Died: 12/23/2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Michael Earl’s western – voice actor:
The Adventures of Timmy the Tooth: Big Mouth Gulch – 1995 [English voice of Ms. Flossie/ Bunky]