'Sesame Street' designer of Big Bird dies
The man who helped Jim Henson bring smiles to millions of kids faces by creating magical puppets has died at the age of 91.
Kermit Love (yes that is his real name!) helped create Big Bird among others.
Love died from congestive heart failure Saturday in Poughkeepsie, near his home in Stanfordville, Love's longtime partner, Christopher Lyall, told The New York Times.
In addition to his work with Henson, Love was a designer for some of ballet's most prominent choreographers, including Twyla Tharp, Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine.
Love also designed costumes and puppets for film and advertising, including the Snuggle bear from the fabric softener commercials.
"Sesame Street," public television's groundbreaking effort to use TV to teach preschoolers, premiered in 1969. Henson designed the original sketches of Big Bird, and Love then built the 8-foot, 2-inch yellow-feathered costume.
It was Love's idea to add a few feathers designed to fall off, to create a more realistic feel.
"The most important thing about puppets is that they must project their imagination, and then the audience must open their eyes and imagine," he told The New York Times in 1981.
Love also helped design costumes and puppets for Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster, among other characters. He even appeared on the show himself as Willy, the fantasy neighborhood's resident hot dog vendor.
Though he denies being the source of Kermit the Frog’s name, he was very involved in the design of similar puppet-type characters.
I'm sure he was the source! How could a great name like that be put to waste!?
A fellow blogger muses on Mr. Love's passing:
I'm not so sad about Kermit Love, the creator of Big Bird and Snufflelufagous dying, because he was 91, after all, and seems to have had a great life. But the story is really interesting.....
Oh, and by the way, Ken's sister's husband's brother-in-law is Steve Whitmire, who voices Kermit the Frog. So we feel kind of related to Sesame Street, in a very round about way.