(SCOOTER, SWEETUMS, STATLER, BEAKER, JANICE AND GLADYS)
is literally a born actor; everyone in his family has at some time worked in show business. His father, now deceased, was an actor. His brother a singer. His mother and three sisters are involved in show business near their home in Closter, New Jersey.
Richard has always known that he'd wind up somewhere in the entertainment field, but the idea of puppeteering never occurred to him, although he adored the Muppets……. "I'd drop anything to watch them", he says. "I thought they were weird."
Still, he had no thought of adding his own zany personality to theirs when he went job-hunting after his high school graduation. Through a friend, he landed in, but not on, radio, preparing weather reports for disc jockey cousin Brucie Morrow. "My qualifications for it", he admits, "were absolutely zilch. I used to stick my hand out the window, feel what was going on out there, and write the report."
In spite of his sober dedication to science, Richard didn't last long as a mini-meteorologist. He had to do his prognosticating in the studio newsroom, with teletypes ceaselessly clacking out from fresh disaster reports from the then-current Vietnam War. "Four months of it was all I could take", he says. "I decided to make a career of resting. I quit, went home and watched more Muppets. Then one day I thought, 'Hey, why don't I try to get with them?'"
He arranged an introduction to Jim Henson, and a few weeks later was invited to participate in a workshop production. Richard, whose arm had never before hoisted anything more than a basketball, found himself puppeteering.
Jim called him again to work for a Muppet special on "The Ed Sullivan Show". Again the fledgling puppeteer rated high marks. In June, 1972, he was summoned again. He has been with Henson since, working "Sesame Street", various Henson specials and films and now "The Muppet Show."
Good-humoured, optimistic, and equipped with a full-time sense of fun, Richard Hunt radiates health and energy. He credits his vitality to "two things: heredity, which I got free, and orange juice, which I buy by the gallon……. No three things. Being with the Muppets helps too."