The character is self-described as 3-and-a-half years old, and refers to himself almost entirely in the third person.As with many children of his age, he is seen somewhat infrequently with a favorite toy of his: an orange monster-like doll named David. Elmo lives in an apartment onSesame Street with his mom Mae, his dad Louie, and, in some storybooks, a sister named Daisy.
The puppet that would eventually become Elmo has been around since the early 1970s. During this time, he was referred to as Baby Monster, and had a number of performers ranging from Caroll Spinney to Jerry Nelson for background scenes. Elmo first appeared onSesame Street specifically as "Elmo" in Season 12where he was performed by Brian Muehl. After Muehl's departure in 1984, the character was re-cast to Richard Hunt. After performing Elmo for a couple of episodes,Hunt literally tossed him over to Kevin Clash, since Clash was the only other person in the Muppeteer lounge at the time (though Noel MacNeal has said that he was in the room as well). Around that time, writer David Korr took a liking to the character, and backed up with the positive research, started using it regularly.
There are either eight or nine Elmo puppets currently available. Kevin Clash told Channel Newsasia that "this one [on my lap] is rodded. There's a full radio-controlled Elmo, there's one for the blue screen, etc. They do different things." In later years, there has been a live-hand variant of Elmo, used in episodes like episode 4206and specials like Elmo's World: Happy Holidays!
Additionally, dozens of Elmo variants have been created by the Muppet Workshop (now, Jim Henson's Puppet Workshop) almost exclusively for use in Tickle Me Landas figments of Dorothy's imagination. These creations build on the basic premise of the Elmo puppet, to create a unique design which displays a variation of Elmo as anything from a rock to an elephant, to even a male doctor and female nurse.
At another screening at the Museum for the Moving Image, Elmo was asked what it was like to work with Richard Hunt, to huge response from the audience. He recollected "It was TORTURE! ...Elmo doesn't like opera! Elmo doesn't like tuna fish sandwiches and Schweppes Ginger Ale. Elmo doesn't like any of those things! But for some reason, when he was working Elmo, Elmo was motivated to love those things."
For the 2005/2006 season, Sesamstraat moved into new scenery. The scenery was introduced with a TV special. Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo flew over to Holland for this special occasion. It was the first time the American characters visited the Dutch street.
According to Ask Elmo, his favorite food is wasabi; that's why he has no eyelids. In 2000, he told Donnie and Marie Osmond that his mother and father tell him to never "hate" any food, but he makes an exception for Brussels sprouts, Marie decides to taunt him with a bowl of them.
The meaning of life to Elmo? He stated that: "Um, the meaning of life for Elmo is respecting your elders by saying Mr. And Ms. and saying thank you and also giving lots of loves and kisses. That's the meaning of life for Elmo."