Dreamer Profile: Kevin Clash:
Puppeter, Author and Producer
This Creative Career post is brought to you today by the color red, and the letter P – for Passion.
Kevin Clash is a puppeteer you may not know, but you definitely know some of his work. He’s the creative mind behind the lovable character Elmo on Sesame Street, and many other playful personalities we’ve grown up with and love.
Clash’s pursuit of his puppeteering career didn’t come easy. In an article online he talked about how he was teased as a child for his passion to make puppets, while other kids in his Baltimore neighborhood dreamed of playing basketball or going into the music business. He had loved puppets since age 10 after watching Sesame Street and had been enchanted with them ever since. In his book he said kids threw taunts at him like, “Look at him, he’s playing with dolls. He sews. He sleeps with his puppets.”
Even so he kept doing what he loved with the support of his parents who continually encouraged him. After doing puppet shows in his neighborhood starting at age 12, he got the chance to go on television and eventually made his way to Sesame Street in 1985. He came up with Elmo’s distinctive voice and laugh, making Elmo one of Sesame Street’s most popular characters. (He also did the voice of “Baby Sinclair” from the “Dinosaurs.”
His work also won Clash an Emmy Award, and he appeared on Oprah in an episode about obscure celebrities. Now he serves as Sesame Street Muppet Captain and co-executive producer, and he’s in homes worldwide teaching children life lessons through his lovable characters. Talk about passion!
Clash says he hopes his book will “inspire everyone to hit their goals.” In this interview he talks about how he never imagined he would be doing something he loved as a career, and how it doesn’t even feel like work. He’s truly living his dream.
Here are some of the videos and articles about Kevin Clash and his work:
In this interview in the New York Times Clash talks about how people react to him when they realize he’s an 6-foot-tall man, about his life, and about the art of puppetry and making stories relevant to kids lives today.
This interview with Kevin Clash and Elmo was tickling & hilarious:
Kevin Clash on “Reading Rainbow:
Kevin as the voice of the Dinosaur’s Baby Sinclair, “I’m the Baby, Gotta Love Me”
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