Shall we count the ways children around the world loved Jerry Nelson? Read this in the voice of Count von Count, please: One, he voiced the aforementioned number-loving vampire to life on Sesame Street.
Those not in their more impressionable years might have preferred the censored spoof of the Count's innocent-turned-very-inappropriate counting that went viral.
Two, he gave life to the purple-haired explorer Gobo Fraggle on Fraggle Rock. And if that's not enough, three, he popped up not only on The Muppet Show but movies and specials throughout the years. Which makes it all the sadder that Nelson passed away yesterday.
The puppeteer passed away Thursday at the age of 78 from unspecified causes, according to CBC Radio-Canada.
"The cast and crew of Sesame Street and the staff of Sesame Workshop deeply mourn the loss of cast member and creator of dozens of Muppet characters, Jerry Nelson," the team wrote in an In Memoriam post on Sesame Workshop. "A member of the Sesame Street family for more than 40 years, he will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide through his portrayal of Count von Count, Herry Monster, Fat Blue, Sherlock Hemlock, the Amazing Mumford and many other beloved characters. We will miss his extraordinary spirit and the joy he brought to our Street."
Nelson, who was born in Tulsa, Okla., but raised in Washington, D.C., began his career under the tutelage of puppeteer Bil Baird (famous for creating Charlemane the Lion and performing in film The Sound of Music) before joining up with Jim Henson, another Baird trainee, in the 1960s.
Nelson bowed out of the Muppets in 2004 for health reasons but stuck with his most famous character, Count von Count.