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Dillon with Elmo, Don Music, and Felix the Chicken.

Ryan Dillon and Elmo season 45
2013 Easter Egg Roll Elmo Rosita

Dillon's first public appearance as Elmo at the 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll. (video)


Dillon performing Elmo with the PS22 chorus at Sesame Workshop's annual benefit gala in May 2013.


Ryan Dillon (b. May 25, 1988) began puppeteering for Sesame Street in 2005, at the age of 17.

As a high school student, Dillon came to the attention of the Sesame producers when he went to an open call for puppeteers. Kevin Clash immediately assigned Dillon to participate in that year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where he performed Ernie on the Sesame Street float, and the taping of Season 37. Dillon received on-screen credit for his first two seasons, for which he assisted and played background roles. After a few years away from the series, he returned to the Sesame fold full-time when he was cast in the major roles of Cooper Monster, a motion capture Muppet, and Paul Ball for the Kinect Sesame Street TV video games.

In 2013, Dillon was selected to take over performing Elmo, following Kevin Clash's departure. He made his first public appearance as Elmo at the White House Easter Egg Roll and has continued to play the character in all forms of media. Dillon's work as Elmo has received Daytime Emmy nominations in 2017 and 2021. In 2020, he won the award for "Outstanding Principal Performance in a Daytime Program" for the special Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration, in which he took on the classic Muppets Don Music and Lefty the Salesman. In addition to performing, Dillon has directed several seasons of the short-form series, My Sesame Street Friends.[1]

Outside of his Muppet work, Dillon's main project is co-producing puppet web videos with frequent collaborator Mark Gale under the banner The DillonGale Idiots. He previously formed a short-lived puppet building business with Patrick Holmes in the late 2000s. Dillon's early credits include puppeteering Dorsel in the original off-Broadway run of John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean, and puppeteering the title character for the Nickelodeon webseries Ask Sylvia. Through the O'Neill Puppetry Conference, Dillon appeared and worked on productions by Ronald Binion, Terry Lee, Emily Perl Kingsley and others.

Muppet/Henson credits[]

for a complete character gallery, see Ryan Dillon characters

  • 2006 Macy's Parade: Hoots (puppetry only)[3]
  • Garden State Film Festival: "How to Get to Sesame Street" puppet workshops, March 24th, 2007


During Dillon's first couple of years on Sesame Street his assisting performances were documented:

  • Sesame Street

Animation voices[]

Directing credits[]

  • My Sesame Street Friends (framing scenes)
    • My Abby (first and second series)
    • My Sesame Music (first series)
    • My Cookie Monster (second series)


External links[]