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October 10, 2005

Award-Winning Writer-Producer Jerry Juhl Dies

Henson Co. Scribe Gave the Muppets a Distinct 'Voice'
Worked to Protect California's Towering Redwood Forests

Lisa Henson, co-CEO of the Jim Henson Co. as well as Jim's daughter, credits writer and puppeteer Jerry Juhl (above) with being the "real voice" of the Muppets and other Henson creations.

San Francisco, CAEmmy-winner Jerry Juhl, head writer of The Muppet Show and co-creator of Fraggle Rock, has died of cancer in San Francisco. He was 67.

Juhl met Jim Henson at a puppeteers convention, and became the first full-time employee of Jim Henson Co. in 1961. The company created the term "Muppet," combining the words marionette and puppet, and proceeded to give the world some of the most beloved characters the television medium has ever known.

A puppeteer on Henson's first television show, Sam and Friends, Juhl later went to work as a writer on Sesame Street when the series launched in 1969. During his six years there, he received two Emmy® awards.

Juhl moved on to The Muppet Show in 1977, where he remained head writer. Fraggle Rock hit HBO in 1983 for a four-year run, with Juhl serving as creative producer and writing for the series.

Lisa Henson, Jim Henson's daughter and co-CEO of the Henson Co., underscored how essential Juhl's humor and wit are to the Henson's legacy, saying that Juhl "was—in many ways—the real voice of the Muppets and of every project from the Jim Henson Co."

In 1987, Jerry Juhl moved to Caspar in Northern California's Mendocino County, where he became active in an array of community affairs and environmental causes—including efforts to save the region's towering redwoods.  

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and brother, Phillip. A celebration of Juhl's life is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 12:00 p.m. at the Caspar Community Center, according to the San Jose Mercury News

Juhl's family asks that donations be made to the Save the Redwoods League and to the Caspar Community Center, in lieu of flowers.

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