The other day I was listening to NPR in my car. I heard a recording of a 1994 interview; Terry Gross interviewing Jeffrey Moss on "Fresh Air". Jeff Moss was head writer, composer and lyricist for Sesame Street. He won fifteen Emmy awards for his work; he created Cookie Monster; he wrote the song "Rubber Duckie" and numerous others. During the interview he sang some of the songs he wrote for the Muppets, and spoke in some of the Muppets' voices. He impressed me with his talent and his wit. Such an engaging and imaginative human being! As I listened, I wondered what had happened to him since that 1994 interview. At the end of the recording, the announcer referred to him as "the late Jeffrey Moss". That made me so sad. I looked him up on the internet and found out that he had died from colon cancer in 1998, just four years after that interview. He was 56 years old. Too soon, I thought, for such a vibrant person.
Jeffrey Moss, with Miss Piggy and Kermit:
It made me think of when I heard about Jim Henson's death in 1990, at age 56. He died suddenly of streptococcus pneumonia. I remember being shocked and saddened at the time. I had been an admirer of his; such an imaginative spirit, creator of the Muppets. He had a childlike magic about him. I couldn't imagine that he was gone.
Jim Henson, with the Muppets:
These two men worked together on Sesame Street and created the world of song, humor and wisdom that is the Muppets. I loved their work; the characters, the songs, the lyrics, the voices. They created a delightful world for children and adults alike. It's such a shame that they both had to die at such young ages.