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Thursday, April 5 at 9 p.m. – Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

(Rochester, NY) – Legendary Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash is the subject of the award-winning Independent Lens documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, airing Thursday, April 5 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11). Adored by people around the world, Elmo is an international icon. But few people know the inspiring story of his creator, Kevin Clash.

As a kid growing up in Baltimore in the 1970s, Clash had a dream to be a puppeteer and work with his idol, Jim Henson. With a supportive family behind him every step of the way, Clash made those dreams come true — and his Elmo is one of the most beloved characters of all time. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and directed by Constance Marks, Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey includes rare archival footage and interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney, and others, offering a unique look at Kevin Clash’s life on Sesame Street and at the Jim Henson Workshop.

Kevin Clash, whose characters include Elmo, Hoots the Owl, and Baby Natasha, is Sesame Street’s senior puppet coordinator and Muppet™ captain as well as Sesame Workshop’s senior creative consultant. Clash began building puppets at age 10 and performed on Baltimore’s harbor front and on local television as a teenager. Clash’s first professional television work was for the CBS affiliate in Baltimore. He came to Sesame Street after attracting the attention of Muppet™ designer Kermit Love. Clash’s film credits include Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I and II, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets From Space,and Elmo in Grouchland. His television work includes The Great Space Coaster, Captain Kangaroo, Dinosaurs, and Muppets Tonight. He also was co-executive producer for Elmopalooza, CinderElmo, and Elmo’s World; co-producer for The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland; and director for Sesame Street episodes and other projects. Clash directed and co-produced the DVD series Sesame Beginnings for Sesame Workshop and directed and co-produced Sesame Workshop’s outreach DVD Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployments, Homecomings, and Changes.

His most recent work includes directing and appearing in Talk, Listen, Connect: When Families Grieve. He also directed the Muppet™ segments of the PBS primetime special Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times. Clash won the 2011 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series for his work as Elmo on Sesame Street; he also won the award for seasons 21, 35-37, 39, and 40. In 2001-2008, 2010, and 2011, he won for his work as co-executive producer for Outstanding Preschool Children’s Series. In September 2006, Clash released his autobiography, My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love, and Laughing Out Loud.

Credit: Courtesy of Constance Marks Productions & Submarine Deluxe

Pictured: Kevin Clash with Elmo

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