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Remembering Richard Hunt

By David Beukema

ScooterScooter reminding Kermit that his uncle owns the theatre. Beaker being helplessly pursued by a technological breakthrough gone wrong. Janice crooning and strumming along with Floyd. Don Music banging his head on his piano. Placido Flamingo honoring us with an aria. Sweetums doing a soft-shoe number. Statler roasting Fozzie or Gonzo. Junior Gorg chasing "Fwaggles." Forgetful Jones blowing his lines.

These are all images I grew up with. They were as much a part of my everyday life as orange juice with breakfast. Being a huge Muppet fan, they were events I took for granted.

When Richard Hunt passed away, I was not quite 10 years old. I remember sitting in the den and my father was reading Time magazine. He told me that Richard Hunt had died. I was saddened, and immediately spouted off all the characters he had portrayed (as I had learned to do at age six). I can't remember much about it, but I remember that at the time, it didn't have an earth-shattering effect on me. I was just getting over Jim Henson's death, after all.

Reading the previously posted tributes here on Muppet Central made me realize how much the world was robbed on January 7th, 1992. Richard Hunt was everything the Muppets stood for. The zaniness, the humor, the biting wit were all there in him, but there was always a wonderful heart as well.

SullyAll his characters were so understandable and identifiable, like Beaker,  Janice, and Don Music. They were so lovable. Almost seven years after the fact, I am feeling more sadness today than when I initially heard the terrible news. Richard Hunt raised me. He was an old friend I saw every day of my life, in some form.

His gentle genius will be treasured forever, every time I see his work, down to the smallest character. I loved Richard Hunt and everything he did.

Although gone, Richard Hunt will live on forever in my heart.


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