Eric Sam

Performing Sam the Eagle in 2008.


Eric Jacobson performing Miss Piggy at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005.

D23 2015 Eric Jacobson Animal

Eric Jacobson (b. January 15, 1971)[1] started working with the Muppets in 1994 as a puppeteer on Sesame Street, and rose through the ranks of Sesame puppeteers. In order to keep the characters of Frank Oz - who was focusing more on directing and other pursuits - alive and visible, Jacobson was selected due to his strong puppeteer talent and extremely similar vocal range. Jacobson has worked on projects starring the classic Muppet Show and Sesame Street characters, and on Bear in the Big Blue House.

I grew up watching the Muppets, and was a rabid fan myself and to carry on this legacy is really important.
—Eric Jacobson[2]

Sesame Street

Jacobson started performing on Sesame Street in 1994. In 1997, Jacobson started performing Bert on a semi-regular basis, and the next year he added Grover to his list as well; he began to perform both characters full-time with Play with Me Sesame. Today, Jacobson is the principal performer of these two Sesame stars – however Frank Oz would occasionally come in to record new material with them until Season 44.

Jacobson has also taken on Guy Smiley since 2005, and has also been Caroll Spinney's understudy and successor for Oscar the Grouch since 2015. He has also performed minor characters on the show, such as Mr. Tiger, one of The Three Little Pigs and Hammy the Dwarf.

Jacobson's wife Mary was a production assistant on the show; they met on the program. His daughter's godfather works for the series.[3]

The Muppets

Jacobson is currently the principal performer of Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Animal and Sam the Eagle – as Frank Oz had retired as their performer in 2000.

At 2001's MuppetFest fan convention Jacobson made his Muppet debut secretly performing Miss Piggy welcoming the fans "live via satellite". Jacobson made his first major Muppet production debut performing Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Animal for 2002's It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. He took over the role of Sam the Eagle starting in 2005 with The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

In 2011, Dave Goelz commented on Jacobson;

When Steve was able to do Kermit, I thought, "Wow, we got off lucky there, but if something happens to Frank or he leaves, we'll just be dead." Lo and behold, Eric Jacobson, who like Steve had been around for a long time in the Sesame Street performing group, was able to do very credible versions of Frank's characters. He's incredible with Miss Piggy. The first time I was at a read-through with Eric, I hadn't noticed his arrival, and we started reading the script. I heard Frank and looked around the room. And Frank wasn't there. So it was really an interesting thing.[4]

Other Works

Jacobson performed Harry the Duck and other characters on Bear in the Big Blue House.

Outside of Henson, Jacobson has worked on The Puzzle Place, Jack's Big Music Show, and Disney's The Book of Pooh (plus a TV show called Once Upon a Tree, in which he performed Billy Bob the Bobcat). He also has performed on stage performing live puppet theater in New York City with The Puppet Company, The Cosmic Bicycle Theater, and The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park.

Jacobson has been honored for his work on several occasions and holds the distinction of being the first puppeteer to work on multiple film and television productions cited for excellence by UNIMA in the same year.[5]

In 2013, Jacobson served as puppeteer for Shaggy Rogers (with Matthew Lillard serving as Shaggy's voice) for the DVD movie, Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map.

Puppeteer Credits


  1. Tweet from Matt Vogel
  2. TV Land Awards interview
  3. Vanity Fair interview
  4. Disney twenty-three, Winter 2011 issue, page 52
  5. Sesame Workshop Press Kit Bio. 2007

External links