Q: Who does the voice of Fozzie Bear's mother? Specifically in "A Muppet Family Christmas" from the 1980s. It seems so familiar.

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

As a Muppets fan, Jerry Nelson's voice should seem familiar to you.

While they often bring in big-name stars for on-screen cameos, the various Muppet movies and shows tend to stick to a small group of regular players for their off-screen puppeteering and voice work. Nelson is a member of that inner circle, performing and providing the voices of literally hundreds of Muppets over time, including Emily Bear, also known as Ma, in the 1987 TV special "A Muppet Family Christmas."

His voice as Emily probably sounds familiar because it's not too far from the voice he does for Robin, Kermit's nephew. It's quite different from his other most famous character, the much deeper-voiced Count von Count from "Sesame Street."

Nelson was one of the early Muppets players, joining in the early '70s (first as a replacement for fellow insider Frank Oz after Oz was drafted into the armed services). Robin and the Count are just his best-known characters. He's been involved in every major Muppets production since the old "Saturday Night Live" days, and, according to IMDB, he did a whopping 213 different characters in "The Muppet Show" alone.

Sadly, Nelson died in 2012. Many of his characters, including Robin and the Count, are now voiced by a luminary in the new generation of Muppeteers, Matt Vogel.


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