|PERFORMER||Richard Hunt 1973-1992|
|Jennifer Barnhart 2003-present|
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, and has frequently been known to imitate or pretend to be other animals. However, her figure tends to clue people of not being the real thing. In spite of this, Gladys has appeared in local plays and productions, performing such roles as Sleeping Beauty, a seed-turned-to-flower, and (occasionally) a cow.
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. An alternate cow puppet was used in the plotline of Episode 0912 (1976), while still performed by Hunt and retaining her budding personality. 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.
- On The Muppet Show, whenever Richard Hunt performed a cow, he would use the same voice as Gladys.
- Even after her first named appearance, the Gladys puppet has been used for cows with different names. In the "Here is Your Life" sketch which focuses on a loaf of bread, she is called Cora Cow. In a Sesame Street News Flash segment in which Old MacDonald spots a flying saucer, the farmer refers to her as Bessie. Other performers for the Gladys puppet include Stephanie D'Abruzzo ("Smell Like a Monster") and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph ("The Coffee Plant" sketch).
- "I'm Proud to Be a Cow"
- "I Love Moo"
- "Baby Say It Loud"
- "Different Yet the Same"
- "Here Are Some Things" (Episode 0926)
- Sesame Street
- Follow That Bird
- The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years
- Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting
- Sing Yourself Silly!
- Sing, Hoot & Howl with the Sesame Street Animals
- Sesame Street Stays Up Late
- 123 Count with Me
- What's the Name of That Song?
- Sesamestreet.org "C is for Cowboy Day" welcome video (week of September 18, 2009)
- Kinect Sesame Street TV
- Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas
- When You Wish Upon a Pickle
- Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration
- The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo episode 111
- AM cow
- unnamed, but with Gladys's personality
- named Gladys
- Season 9: 1056
- Season 10: 1277, 1291, 1310
- Season 13: 1611, 1649, 1650, 1677, 1679, 1693
- Season 14: 1722, 1750, 1783, 1792, 1824, 1829
- Season 15: 1853, 1872, 1910
- Season 16: 2004, 2015, 2054, 2065
- Season 17: 2129, 2153, 2174
- Season 18: 2277, 2281, 2285, 2292, 2298, 2307, 2335, 2352
- Season 19: 2424, 2425
- Season 20: 2486, 2540, 2555, 2560, 2568
- Season 21: 2659, 2740
- Season 22: 2754, 2799
- Season 23: 2984
- Season 34: 4031, 4032, 4039
- Season 35: 4062, 4063
- Season 36: 4085
- Season 38: 4157
- Season 49: 4901, 4904
- Season 50: 5015, 5025
- Season 51: 5112