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Who played Cookie the Cook?

In the beloved children’s television series Sesame Street, Cookie Monster is one of the most iconic and beloved characters. With his voracious appetite and funny “om nom nom” eating sounds, Cookie Monster has been entertaining and educating children since the show’s inception in 1969. But who is the talented performer behind the blue furry monster? Let’s take a look at the history of Cookie Monster and the actors who have brought him to life over the decades.

The Origins of Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster first appeared on Sesame Street in the show’s very first season in 1969. He started off as a generic monster character simply referred to as “The Wheel-Stealer” in his earliest appearances. His name evolved into the “Cookie Monster” during the first season and his defining personality trait – his insatiable craving for cookies – was established. Cookie Monster’s signature gobbling noises were also developed in the first season.

In terms of Cookie Monster’s design, he has gone through some changes over the years. His eyes and nose were further apart in his first appearances and his teeth were more jagged and sharp. His eyes were switched to googly eyes by the second season to give him a cuter, more child-friendly look. The shade of blue fur has also gotten lighter over time. But overall, Cookie Monster’s general furry, googly-eyed monster design has remained consistent for over 50 years.

Frank Oz – The Original Cookie Monster

The original performer behind Cookie Monster was legendary puppeteer Frank Oz. Oz was one of Jim Henson’s closest collaborators and brought many iconic Sesame Street characters to life, including Bert, Grover, and Miss Piggy. Oz was instrumental in shaping Cookie Monster’s personality and voice in the character’s formative early years. He performed Cookie Monster from 1969 until his departure from Sesame Street in 2001.

Oz had an uncanny knack for creating unique, memorable voices that perfectly matched the characters. With Cookie Monster, he gave the puppet a guttural, gravelly growl that evoked Cookie Monster’s obsession with devouring anything and everything in sight. Even though multiple performers have voiced Cookie Monster over the years, Oz’s rendition remains the definitive classic take on the character.

Other Notable Cookie Monster Performers

After Frank Oz’s departure in 2001, Cookie Monster was performed by David Rudman. Rudman’s take on Cookie Monster was very similar to Oz’s original version, helping maintain continuity for the character. Rudman voiced Cookie Monster from 2001 to 2014.

In 2014, veteran Sesame Street puppeteer Eric Jacobson took over performing Cookie Monster. Jacobson had previously assumed several other major Sesame Street characters originated by Oz, including Bert, Grover and Oscar the Grouch. Jacobson continues to voice Cookie Monster currently.

While Oz, Rudman and Jacobson have been Cookie Monster’s main performers, some other puppeteers have occasionally voiced the character for brief spots, including Richard Hunt, Jerry Nelson and Martin P. Robinson.

Performer Years as Cookie Monster
Frank Oz 1969 – 2001
David Rudman 2001 – 2014
Eric Jacobson 2014 – Present

Cookie Monster’s Personality and Impact

Cookie Monster resonates with both children and adults because he represents basic drives and desires taken to comical extremes. His insatiable hunger, especially for cookies, makes him a universally relatable character. Children find him funny and love his silly antics and sounds. Adults appreciate Cookie Monster as an amusing metaphor for losing control over cravings and giving into temptation.

While Cookie Monster has remained steadfast in his cookie addiction for decades, he has evolved in some ways over the years. He used to gobble anything in sight with little self-control. But the modern Cookie Monster exhibits more restraint, manners and control. He even advocates for moderation and eating healthy foods in addition to cookies. This change reflects broader efforts to promote healthier eating habits in children’s programming.

Cookie Monster also expanded his vocabulary and conversational skills significantly since his early mute days. Cookie Monster can speak in full sentences and partake in conversations, even though he still talks in his signature rough growl. This helps him function better as a friend and role model instead of just a one-note eating machine.

Through it all, Cookie Monster has become one of most enduring and beloved Sesame Street residents. Few other characters have remained relevant with audiences across generations for over 50 years. Cookie Monster’s popularity is evident in the huge array of merchandise featuring his likeness that can be found globally. Whether he is featured on t-shirts, plush toys or even baked goods, Cookie Monster clearly holds a special place in popular culture.

The Legacy of Cookie Monster Performers

While Cookie Monster himself is a fictional character, the talented performers behind the blue furry monster have had amazing legacies in their own right.

Frank Oz

As the original Cookie Monster, Frank Oz left an indelible mark on the character and children’s television in general. Oz’s prolific career also included creating iconic roles like Yoda from Star Wars and Miss Piggy from The Muppets. He directed classic comedic films like Little Shop of Horrors and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Oz continues to be held in high esteem both within and beyond the worlds of puppetry and children’s entertainment.

David Rudman

David Rudman is a longtime Muppet performer who voiced Cookie Monster at the height of the character’s popularity in the 2000s. Rudman’s talents extend far beyond Cookie Monster with major roles like Baby Bear, Hughie Bird, Humphrey, and Two-Headed Monster. He helped keep Cookie Monster and other cherished characters alive.

Eric Jacobson

Current Cookie Monster performer Eric Jacobson faced the daunting task of assuming most of Frank Oz’s major roles in the 2000s. Big shoes to fill, but Jacobson pulled it off with aplomb. His vocal mimicry and puppetry skills have made his portrayals seamless. Jacobson ensures future generations can enjoy Cookie Monster and other iconic characters.

While Cookie Monster himself remains forever young, the brilliance and artistry of his performers has kept him relevant across changing eras. Their names may not be as widely known as the characters they portrayed, but their talents helped shape the culture of multiple generations. Cookie Monster as we know him simply would not exist without their skills.


For over 50 years, Cookie Monster has delighted children and adults alike with his hilarious cookie antics. While he is a simple character at heart, Cookie Monster has endured culturally due to both his universal appeal and the incredible talents of his performers. Frank Oz brought Cookie Monster to life and established his personality that still rings true today. Subsequent performers like David Rudman and Eric Jacobson have kept Cookie Monster relevant through changing times. Whoever is voicing Cookie Monster, his insatiable hunger for cookies is sure to continue entertaining audiences of all ages for decades to come.