Many people have provided the voices for the Muppets. You know them well: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire…the list goes on. And all of them had a hand in what the characters would say with those voices, but nobody moreso than Jerry Juhl. The name may not ring as big a bell as we might like–we recognized him as 2003 Unsung Hero for that reason–but if the Muppets touched your life (and who among you can say that they haven’t touched your life), then you owe a great debt to Jerry Juhl.
He was head writer for The Muppet Show. Creative producer for Fraggle Rock. Main scribe on every Muppet feature film. He was an integral part of the magic that we all know the Muppets used to be. And, even a cynical bastard like myself hopes they will someday be again.
Jerry passed away on Monday after a fight with cancer. Literally days after learning he had cancer. And we’re all kind of fucked up about it in our own way. But like I said at the Film Fest after our Joe Ranft tribute….same deal: Jerry would not have wanted us to be sad for him. I’m sure whenever we get to where we’re going, we’ll learn that he and Jim have already concocted three more incredible Muppet movies and the next showing’s in fifteen minutes, so grab your popcorn.
You can believe whatever you want to, but I’m holding to that one.
For more information about his life and an eulogy that sums it up better than I can, check out Ken’s article here.