BERT AND ERNIE Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » bert and ernie


Ernie and Bert are two roommates on the long-running PBS children's television     
show Sesame Street. The two appear together in numerous skits, forming a comic     
duo that is one of the centerpieces of the program.                                 
Bert and Ernie were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by           
Muppets creator Jim Henson. According to Frank Oz, Sahlin also defined their       
characters on the basis of their physical appearance: Ernie was an orange and       
Bert was a banana.                                                                 
According to A&E's Biography, Ernie and Bert were the only Muppets to appear in     
the Sesame Street pilot episode, which was screen tested to a number of families   
in July 1969. Their brief appearance was the only part of the pilot that tested     
well, so it was decided that not only should Muppet characters be the "stars" of   
the show, but would also interact with the human characters, something that was     
not done in the pilot.                                                             
Ernie was originally performed by Jim Henson until his death in 1990. Muppeteer     
Steve Whitmire inherited the character. Bert was originally performed by now-director
Frank Oz. When Henson died, Frank Oz commented that he "couldn't imagine doing     
Ernie and Bert without Jim." Despite this, Steve Whitmire took over performing     
Ernie. Beginning around 2001, Eric Jacobson took over as Bert's primary             
performer, although Oz still occasionally performs Bert.                           
Ernie's rendition of the song Rubber Duckie was released as a single in 1970 and   
reached #16 on the Billboard charts.