Jeffrey Arnold "Jeff" Moss (June 19th, 1942 - SEPTEMBER 24th, 1998) was a head writer & composer-lyricist on SESAME STREET. Some of his best-known songs from the show include "RUBBER DUCKIE", "I LOVE TRASH", "The People in Your Neighborhood", "I DON’T Want to Live on the Moon" & "NASTY DAN". In addition to songwriting, Moss helped to create COOKIE MONSTER, OSCAR THE GROUCH, & GUY SMILEY.
Moss won 15 Emmys for his work & wrote the songs for 4 Grammy Award-winning records. When released as a single in 1970, RUBBER DUCKIE sold more than a million copies. Moss' songs were known internationally as well; Claude François' recording of "NASTY DAN" went to number 1 on the pop chart in France.
Moss wrote over a dozen best-selling books under the SESAME STREET label, including The SESAME STREET Book of Poetry. Several of his songs have been illustrated & published as well. He also wrote 3 collections of children’s poetry & several short stories.
Jeffrey Arnold Moss was born in New York. His father, Arnold Moss, was a Shakespearen actor, college drama teacher, and creator of crossword puzzles for the New York Times, and his mother, Stella Reynolds, had given up acting to become a soap opera writer. Moss displayed an appreciation for music and literacy at a young age. His parents kept recordings of classical music and Broadway show tunes around their house. He loved reading, and remembered discovering crossword puzzles for the first time while on a road trip. On his love for words: "I have always loved them and I still love them. When I'm sitting around, I play with them in my head, the way other people think about - I don't know - cars. I think a certain amount of that is just born into you. I think I would love words no matter what I did for a living - if I were a factory worker, or a doctor, or whatever."
Moss studied at the prestigious Browning High School, where he was number 1 in his class. He then transitioned to Princeton University, where he joined the Triangle Club, a student-run musical comedy group that toured major theaters across the country. Moss wrote the book and lyrics, and appeared in two of the Triangle Club revues.
After graduating from Princeton, Moss was offered two jobs at CBS as a writer for its news department or as production assistant on Captain Kangaroo. Moss ultimately chose the latter, the reason of which he explained in hindsight, "I've seen the news". Moss' stint on Kangaroo was cut short when he was called to serve in the army. While on a bus ride to a training session, he met future Sesame Street colleague Christopher Cerf. Moss returned to Kangaroo six months later as a staff writer, scripting sketches and songs until 1968. Among his contributions to the show is the song "When Ping Pong Balls Are Falling".
SESAME STREET WorkEdit
- MOSS also gave voice to several Anything Muppet singers on SESAME STREET, including namesakes BIG Jeffy (of Little Jerry & the Monotones), & Jeffy (who sang "I’m Going to Get My Hair Cut" with Cookie Monster). He also voiced a Lavender back-up singer for Little Chrissy & the Alphabeats.
- A chair at New York City’s Hayden Planetarium is dedicated to MOSS, immortalized by a plaque with his name, dates of birth & death, & the caption "Beloved Star".
- People in My Family (1971)
- People in Your Neighborhood (1971)
- The SESAME STREET Storybook (1971)
- COOKIE MONSTER’s Circle Book (1972)
- The SESAME STREET 1, 2, 3 Storybook (1973)
- The SESAME STREET ABC Storybook (1974)
- The SESAME STREET Book of Fairy Tales (1975)
- OSCAR’s Book (1975)
- OSCAR-THE-GROUCH’s Alphabet of TRASH (1977)
- The SESAME STREET Bedtime Storybook (1978)
- The SESAME STREET Library (1978 - 1979)
- People in My Family (1983)
- The SESAME STREET Treasury (1983)
- The Songs of SESAME STREET in Poems & Pictures (1983)
- The SESAME STREET Book of Poetry (1992)
MOSS is credited as a writer on all albums, unless noted otherwise.
- SESAME STREET
- SESAME STREET
- The Muppet Alphabet Album
- SESAME STREET LIVE! - also directed
- ¡SESAME Mucho!
- Aren’t You Glad You’re You?- Musical Arrangements
- Happy Birthday from SESAME STREET
- What Time Is It on SESAME STREET?
- Fair Is Fair - Executive Producer
- Every Body’s Record
- The People in Your Neighborhood
- Exercise! - Project Consultant
- SESAME STREET Sing-Along!
- SESAME STREET - Music Consultant
- Other Poetry Collections
- The Butterfly Jar
- The Other Side of the Door
- Bone Poems
- Other Short Stories
- Bob & Jack: A Boy & His Yak
- Hieronymus White
- Dad of the Dad of the Dad of Your Dad
- Festival Attractions, Inc. on Internet Archive
- JEFF MOSS on Internet Movie Database
- JEFF MOSS for the Muppet Wiki
- JEFF MOSS for the OSCAR THE GROUCH Wiki
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