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30 Most Iconic Celebrity Guests on Sesame Street

James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones was Sesame Street’s first celebrity guest. He showed up to recite the alphabet and count to 10 in his famous, booming voice. The gag was that an A-list actor would do something so inconsequential on a kids’ show, but he started a tradition of celebrity guest stars that’s lasted for decades.

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Robin Williams

Robin Williams had a dual career as a wild iconoclast and a warm family entertainer. He was everything from the Genie in Aladdin to Mork on Mork and Mindy. He was also a prolific Muppet contributor in the 90s-00s. He appeared in eight segments across seven episodes. 

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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is a groundbreaking poet. She’s read at Presidential inaugurations. She’s been awarded a Tony, Grammys, a Pulitzer, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also appeared in numerous episodes of Sesame Street, rapping, singing, and dancing, and sharing her love of words. She even contributed a recipe to Miss Piggy’s cookbook.

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Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor was known for his wildly profane social commentary and humor, but he made time for Sesame Street. He appeared alongside Jim Henson creatures in the early days of Saturday Night Live. He recorded several standalone inserts about the alphabet, parts of the body, and more, appearing in at least three episodes. (He also cameos in The Muppet Movie).

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Norah Jones

Since bursting onto the scene in 2003, Norah Jones has won 9 Grammys, and sung alongside everyone from Dolly Parton to Outkast – and Elmo. She sang an altered version of “Don’t Know Why” while waiting for her friend (a letter Y) to come and meet her.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda was making a living as a songwriter even before Hamilton catapulted him to megastardom. He wrote for both The Electric Company and Sesame Street, and showed up to sing about bird habitats when Big Bird was looking for a new home.

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Alton Brown

Alton Brown’s no-nonsense approach to making fine cooking accessible has made him a  favorite among celebrity chefs. He appeared in an episode to discuss the word “recipe,” and later turned up in the music video for “The Elmo Slide.” Later, The Swedish Chef returned the favor by showing up alongside Brown on a Food Network special.

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Beyonce

It doesn’t get more iconic than Queen Bey. Back in the Destiny’s Child days, Beyoncé Knowles appeared with her Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. The trio performed an adapted version of “A New Way to Walk.” 

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Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin was the second person to ever walk on the Moon. Since then he’s been doing advocacy work in the name of space exploration. He’s voiced parodies of himself on shows like The Simpsons, but he’s also done educational work of all kinds – including showing up on Sesame Street in 2005.

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Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson is the only athlete to be named All-Star in both football and baseball. On Sesame Street, he did a parody of his famous “Bo Knows” ads for Nike – alongside legendary rock and roll pioneer Bo Diddley, and a Muppet version of Little Bo Peep.

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Jackie Robinson

It’s hard to be more iconic than Jackie Robinson. He was the first African-American athlete to play in Major League Baseball. He was All-Star six years in a row, played in six World Series, and was the first Black MVP in the League. He appears in the very first season of Sesame Street  in a special insert segment where he recites the alphabet.

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Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris is an ardent Muppet fan, calling Jim Henson out as an all-time hero. He worked alongside Muppets on a couple of benefit specials in the 90s, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he finally appeared on Sesame Street, singing and dancing as “The Fairy Shoeperson.” 

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Sonia Sotomayor

Most Sesame Street guests were entertainers of some sort – singers, actors, and athletes. But Sonia Sotomayor is no less than a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She appears in seasons 42 and 43.

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R2-D2 and C-3PO

In 1979, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They showed up for two episodes, and filmed several inserts that were used repeatedly later. Anthony Daniels showed up to perform as C-3PO, but a remote-controlled robot was used for R2, in lieu of Kenny Baker. The duo showed up the following year on The Muppet Show.

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Terry Crews

Everyone’s favorite football player-turned-actor has several other hidden talents. He has a design firm, and he says his first job in entertainment was as a courtroom sketch artist. Accordingly, his appearance on Sesame Street was about the word “artist.”

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Johnny Cash

The Man in Black recorded four songs for Sesame Street, one of which he never recorded anywhere else. His first two appearances were in the late 70s. His last two were in the 90s, right before kickstarting his career resurgence with Rick Rubin. Cash also had a Muppet Show appearance in 1981.

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Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall is an icon from the Golden Age of Hollywood, one of the original femmes fatales of the film noir era. She showed up to read to the kids, very early on in the show’s run. She also contributed to Miss Piggy’s cookbook in the 90s.  

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Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen is a Royal Shakespeare Company actor with nerd cred in several big film franchises. He plays Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies, and Magneto in the X-Men films. He poked fun at his Gandalf role in a Sesame Street Vine, and talked with Cookie Monster about the word “resist” for a Word of the Day segment in season 45.

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Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart is famous as Captain Picard on Star Trek: TNG, and as Professor Xavier in the X-Men movies. His first Sesame Street appearance referenced his work as a Shakespearean actor – it was a spoof of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be,” with the letter B. He also referenced his Star Trek work in a skit with The Count.

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Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy went from a supporting role in Gilmore Girls to having a stranglehold on cinematic comedy for years as both an actress and a canny producer. She appeared on Season 43 of Sesame Street, talking about the word “choreographer” in a Word of the Day segment that included dancing with Elmo.

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Jeff Goldblum

Jeff Goldblum is fascinating – an odd, niche sex symbol and a mystifying presence in everything from The Fly to Jurassic Park to Portlandia. He appeared in 1990 in an Indiana Jones spoof called Minneapolis Johnson. He also appeared in the music video for “Sing,” alongside Geena Davis.

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Steve Carrell

Steve Carrell is beloved as Michael Scott on The Office, and has starred in films from Will Farrell’s classic Anchorman to indie darling Little Miss Sunshine. Given his background as a Daily Show correspondent, it’s not surprising that his Word of the Day segment was about the word “vote”.

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Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the only cellists living that could be described as a “superstar.” He’s played with everyone from John Williams and Philip Glass to Bobby McFerrin and James Taylor. He came to Sesame Street twice – playing alongside Elmo once, and with Hoots the Owl the second time. When he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, Elmo was part of the musical tribute in his honor.

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Sia

Sia Furler sang with Zero 7 for years before breaking out big as a solo artist with hits like “Chandelier”. She appeared on Sesame Street in 2016 to sing “S is for Songs”. While notoriously shy about showing her face during performances, she was only obscured by a big red nose for her segment. The Muppet cast all donned her signature black-and-white wig in her honor.

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John Legend

John Legend is an R&B singer who’s been in the spotlight since before 2004 – often for his activism as much as for his music. He appeared in 2006 and is set to appear in an upcoming episode. During taping he recorded a special video for his daughter, who was too sick to come along. He also appeared at a Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala, and sang with Miss Piggy and Kermit on The Queen Latifah Show.

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Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama appeared on Sesame Street twice, in 2009 and 2015. She described being “thrilled” to be part of it, and Muppets made several appearances at family-oriented White House events afterward. She wasn’t the first First Lady to go to Sesame Street, however—Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush did, as well.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey was a head writer for SNL before creating and appearing in shows like 30 Rock and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She appeared on Sesame Street twice – in 2007 and 2015. She also played a Russian prison guard in Muppets Most Wanted, and Muppets (including a Muppet of Tina Fey) appeared in 30 Rock more than once.

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Kronos Quartet

Kronos Quartet is a contemporary classical string quartet. For over 40 years, they’ve been perhaps the most famous “new music” group in the world. You’ve also probably heard them in film scores. They appeared in 1987 to talk about teamwork and communication. Quartet founder David Harrington admitted, decades later, that he stole a couple of Big Bird’s feathers for his children.

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Christopher Reeve

Superman himself was close friends with Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and appeared in several Muppet Show productions. He didn’t appear on Sesame Street until 2000. He did an alphabet segment. He also appeared alongside his son, talking about the way that his wheelchair helped him get around since his 1995 accident in a way that children could understand.

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Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling was a writer and performer on The Office, and co-creator and star of The Mindy Project.  She also did voice work for Inside/Out and Wreck-It Ralph. She presented a “Word of the Day” segment about the word “enthusiastic” in 2014. She also showed up with Gonzo at a NASCAR race, and appeared in an episode of the short-lived show The Muppets.

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