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

Performing Sam the Eagle in 2008.

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Eric Jacobson (b. January 15, 1971)[1] started working with the Muppets in 1992 as an intern for the Jim Henson Company, dubbing tapes in the archival library.[2][3] By 1994, he started to work 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 very 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.

β€œI grew up watching the Muppets, and was a rabid fan myself and to carry on this legacy is really important.”
β€”Eric Jacobson[4]

Sesame Street

Jacobson's first puppeteering job for Sesame Street was the song "L is for Low" with Samuel Ramey. By the late 1990s, he began filling in for Frank Oz as Bert and Grover, at first in small speaking parts. As Oz became increasingly unavailable to perform, Jacobson transitioned to being the primary performer of the characters, playing them exclusively for the series Play with Me Sesame in 2002.

Since 2005, Jacobson has also taken over performing Guy Smiley. He also understudied for Caroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch starting in 2015 and succeeded him in the role three years later. His minor Sesame characters have included Mr. Tiger, Hammy the Dwarf, and one of the Three Little Pigs.

Jacobson has received two Daytime Emmy nominations for his work on Sesame Street in 2011 and 2021, including for his vocal performance as Grover in the special The Monster at the End of This Story.

Jacobson's wife Mary was a production assistant on the show; they met on the program. Matt and Kelly Vogel are the godparents to one of his two daughters.[5][6]

In 2021, Jacobson directed the online music video "Better with You."[7]

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;

β€œWhen 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.[8]”

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.[9]

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

Sources

External links

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