Gladyscow.jpg
PERFORMER Richard Hunt 1973-1992
  Jennifer Barnhart 2003-present
DEBUT 1972

Gladys as a blooming flower in a Sesame Street pageant.

Richard Hunt performing Gladys.

The (exposed-foam) Gladys puppet in a Grover sketch.

The (fleeced) Gladys puppet during the show's 50th season.

Gladys the Cow is the most famous of Sesame Street's many cows. She is a rather self-obsessed bovine, aspiring to be a big star in acting, dancing, or singing.

The puppet first appeared as a generic cow in season four. In the hands of Richard Hunt, the puppet began to take on an identity of its own, often appearing at random in sketches and street scenes to do various animal impressions and to demonstrate her singing chops. Hunt performed her as early as Episode 0497 (1973) where she's still a fairly generic cow who helps out a fellow bovine named Lola. By the time she appeared in a Sesame Street News Flash segment for the "Hickory Dickory Dock" nursery rhyme in Episode 0710 (1975), her personality was mostly formed with the characteristics she would become known for. As late as Episode 1056 (1977), she was christened the name Gladys.

Her signature song is "I'm Proud to Be a Cow." She was featured in some Sesame Street pageants, occasionally appeared with Buster the Horse, and had a cameo in Follow That Bird and the Monsterpiece Theater production of "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves" as one of the thieves. Gladys was initially retired from the show in 1992, after performer Richard Hunt's death.

Gladys returned to the ensemble supporting cast in Season 34, performed now by Jennifer Barnhart. In the season premiere, Episode 4031, Gladys tried to steal the show at the Hooper's Store karaoke night. Under Barnhart's tenure, Gladys has made minor recurring appearances since, including episodes 4085, 4157, and 4904.

A dramatically updated version of the puppet has made several appearances since 2016: The classic Sesame Street cow look defined by exposed, airbrushed foam, has been changed to the puppet being entirely covered by fleece, now contrasting her body with more pronounced dark brown spots over her light brown body.

Notes

  • On The Muppet Show, whenever Richard Hunt performed a cow, he would use the same voice as Gladys.

Songs

Filmography

Episodic appearances

AM cow
unnamed, but with Gladys's personality
named Gladys

Book appearances

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