7 of our favorite 'Sesame Street' guest stars
From an Oscar-winning A-lister to a legendary classical musician, these are the celebrities we loved to watch on the beloved children's series.
Since it premiered 50 years ago, "Sesame Street" has been lauded as one of the best children's shows in television history. And it wasn't just because of its entertaining puppetry, heartwarming messages and educational format; a big part of the show's success was its impressive lineup of guest stars, from A-list celebrities to Supreme Court justices to legendary soul singers.
We're talking about literally hundreds of appearances from some of the most newsworthy people on the planet over half a century, so whittling them down to one tight little list is near impossible. But we like a challenge. Here are our favorite celebrity cameos on "Sesame Street":
Canadian musician Leslie Feist is not a children's singer, but she played the part beautifully for her performance of "1234" on a 2008 episode of "Sesame Street." She altered the lyrics a bit to help kids learn to count, making it the perfect musical interlude for the series.
The legendary comic actor appeared multiple times on the show, but one skit in particular set off waves of admiration for Williams: a giggle-inducing conversation with Elmo about a stick. A stick, simple as that.
Up until her 2008 appearance, we were accustomed to seeing Portman, the Oscar-winning Israel-born actress, suited up for more serious roles: as Padmé Amidala in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy, as Evey in "V for Vendetta," and as Anne Boleyn in "The Other Boleyn Girl." So it was nice to see her pivot into a more relaxed persona for a bit: as the princess to Elmo's elephant.
The sweet harmonies of Pentatonix, an a capella group from Texas, graced the streets of Sesame in 2014, where they taught kids how to count to five in flawless unison. After their episode aired, their official YouTube channel released a bonus video of a Sesame medley that included "C is for Cookie" and "Rubber Ducky." That's good enough for me!
Israeli-American violinist, conductor and music teacher Itzhak Perlman has performed all over the world, in venues ranging from the Ed Sullivan Show to the inauguration of President Obama. True to form, his appearance on "Sesame Street" was no less than memorable, imparting a simple yet meaningful message to young viewers: What's easy for one person might be hard for another, and vice versa.
Sarah Jessica Parker
With a wink and a nod to the adults in the room, SJP paid homage to her "Sex and the City" love interest in a 2010 appearance while also helping Grover find "big." It was one of many of "Sesame Street's" strategic moves to appeal to "coviewers" without confusing or alienating children.
It's a word that bears repeating, and an action that bears learning. In his 2011 appearance, actor Mark Ruffalo displayed his theatrical range by teaching kids (and his puppet sidekick Murray) about "empathy." It took a few overdramatic examples, but eventually Murray got it.
The Supreme Court justice appeared on a 2012 episode of "Sesame Street" to essentially crush Abby Cadabby's dreams of being a princess. Because, as the Bronx-born Sotomayor has so expertly demonstrated, there are many careers available to girls and women, and they don't involve archaic monarchical structures. This was actually her second appearance on the show; in her first, she talked about how people can work together to solve disagreements.
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