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Bill Barretta Dinos
Neil bill premiere

Bill Barretta at the premiere of The Muppets with Neil Patrick Harris.

D23 2015 Bill Barretta Pepe

Bill Barretta (b. June 19, 1964) is a puppeteer and producer, who has been performing with the Jim Henson Company since 1991 and has become one of the leading Muppet performers.

Originally from Yardley, Pennsylvania, Barretta was trained at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City as an actor and has appeared in the feature films Murder in the First and Born to Be Wild. He also worked as a carpenter before joining Henson. He met Brian Henson while they were both working at Sesame Place, and the younger Henson encouraged him to join the company.

His first break came performing the body of Earl Sinclair on Dinosaurs. From suit performance, Barretta transitioned to assisting and supporting roles on The Animal Show, multiple small character roles in Muppet Classic Theater and Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, and his film debut as a principal performer playing Clueless Morgan in Muppet Treasure Island. He later developed several new characters on Muppets Tonight, including Pepe the King Prawn, Johnny Fiama and Bobo the Bear.

Along with having his own Muppet characters, Barretta has taken over several of Jim Henson's roles, such as Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Mahna Mahna and the Swedish Chef. On Sesame Street, Barretta originated the role of Elmo's dad Louie who first appeared in Sesame Beginnings (and was subsequently inherited by Tyler Bunch).

In addition, Barretta has served as a producer for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. He has also served as Muppet Captain on The Muppets[1] and Muppets Most Wanted. He also co-wrote the screenplay of the Creature Shop film Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (appearing on camera as Thunderdell).

Barretta directed a test pilot for the America's Next Muppet pitch and directed another presentation pilot featuring the Muppet in mock documentary style, focusing on the Muppets' efforts to launch a network television series. The second presentation pilot was written and produced by Bill Prady and featured puppetry by Barretta, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson.

His brother, artist Gene Barretta, has worked on several Henson/Sesame Street projects.

Puppeteer Credits[]

for a complete character gallery, see Bill Barretta characters

Production credits[]


  • He attended St. Mary's Hall in Burlington, New Jersey.
  • In addition to his puppeteering, Barretta has provided several episodic character voices on the Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible and performed the song "Jingle, Jang and Jive" for Disney's Christmas special Prep and Landing.
  • Barretta met Jim Henson twice; once at Sesame Place, where he helped Henson find the automated characters,[5] and later at his apartment.[6]
  • Rowlf talked about Barretta in 2011: "Bill Barretta? That name sure is familiar, but I can't quite place him...Oh, wait a second, is that the fellow who gives me a lift now and then? Sure! Great guy-funny, creative, and I can beat him at cards. What's not to like?"[7]

See also[]


External Links[]