a 50-year-old black man!
Elmo is voiced by a 50-year-old black man!
Three different performers played Sesame Street’s beloved red Muppet prior to 1985, but it wasn’t until that year that the ticklish little guy truly found his voice. It came from a pretty unlikely source too - a baritone by the name of Kevin Clash. Clash had just joined the ranks of the show’s puppeteers a year earlier, voicing minor characters such as Hoots the Owl, Baby Natasha, and Dr. Nobel Price.
Nevertheless, Kevin didn’t find his true calling until flipping up into his falsetto to find Elmo’s adorable timbre. The funniest thing about this fact for me personally is that the BEST Elmo impression I have EVER heard was also done by a black friend of mine back in college...a 6’5”, 250 lb defensive end on the football team!
Still skeptical? Check out Kevin/Elmo’s interview below: