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Shari Lewis, Puppeteer and Children's Entertainer

Updated on December 30, 2010

In memory of well-loved puppeteer and children's TV show host Shari Lewis.

Shari Lewis was one of the most loved children's entertainers in past decades. I personally got to know of her and Lamb Chop, the sassy little sock puppet she brought to life, through syndicated episodes of The Shari Show in the early 80s, a TV series I loved to watch as a child because I was fascinated at how she was able to interact and at the same time provide voices for her puppets Charlie Horse, Wing Ding, Baby Doll and the rest of the gang.

I always felt there was some kind of magic about her ... didn't you? It devastated me to find out that she had already passed away so I thought of making this tribute page for her, the wonderful woman who brought multiple generations of kids hours and hours of joy.

Please read on to read and learn more about this beautiful, talented lady and her amazing work.

Photos on this page are from Sixties60.com and Ventriloquist Central

"I try to turn TV into an activity." --Shari Lewis

"I try to turn TV into an activity." --Shari Lewis
"I try to turn TV into an activity." --Shari Lewis

Shari Lewis (January 17, 1933 - August 2, 1998) was an American ventriloquist, puppeteer, and children's television show host, most popular during the 1960s and 1990s. She is best known as the original puppeteer of Lamb Chop, first appearing on Hi Mom, a local morning show that aired on WNBC in New York.

Born Shari Phyllis Hurwitz, Shari already knew how to perform specialized magic acts by age 13, courtesy of her father. She also studied acrobatics, juggling, piano and violin. Ventriloquism was taught to her by John W. Cooper. Lewis continued piano and violin at New York's High School of Music and Art, dance at the American School of Ballet, and acting with Sanford Meisner of the Neighborhood Playhouse. She attended Barnard College for one year, then left college to go into show business.

In 1952, Lewis and her puppetry won first prize on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts television show. In March 1956, Shari and Lamb Chop appeared on Captain Kangaroo and later that year she had her own show Shariland on local TV which ran through 1958. She graduated to network television in 1960 as host and puppeteer of The Shari Lewis Show on NBC. The program featured her characters Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, Lamb Chop, and Wing Ding. Subsequent TV shows introduced these characters to new generations of children. In 1992, her Emmy-winning show Lamb Chop's Play-Along began a five year run on PBS. Shari also starred in another hit PBS series The Charlie Horse Music Pizza which was one of her last projects before her passing.

Shari was diagnosed with uterine cancer in June 1998.While undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on August 2, 1998, Shari died at the age of 65 after developing viral pneumonia.

Read more about Shari Lewis on the following sites:

An interview with Shari Lewis - Watch this interview with Shari and see clips from her shows.

Shari Lewis was such a fabulous performer that I often found myself believing that Lamb Chop and all her puppets were true living, breathing creatures. It was difficult to grasp that they were only puppets that she manipulated by hand.

Classic Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop videos - A Shari Lewis Christmas (1960)

Lewis, Shari - Shari Lewis Christmas
Lewis, Shari - Shari Lewis Christmas

Each year around Christmas, Shari created a holiday special, filed with holiday themed skits, dance and song. This DVD includes all 3 Christmas specials done for The Shari Lewis Show and we've added the Christmas special she did for Hi Mom.

 

Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop: The Shari Show -- The Story Person Show

Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop-Shari Show-Story Person Show
Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop-Shari Show-Story Person Show

A classic episode of the delightful Shari Show. Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop provide hours of educational story telling and interactive fun!

 

Shari & Lamb Chop sing a song on Sesame Street - Big Bird meets the Lewis-Lamb Chop duo!

Check out this adorable video clip of Shari and Lamb Chop with Big Bird on Sesame Street.

Hi Kids! - Listen to Shari Lewis' delightful voice.

Recently reissued, this classic Shari Lewis: Hi Kids! is something young ones will definitely enjoy. The music is sweeping, orchestral, and breezy; Lewis and her puppet friends (Wing Ding, Charlie Horse, Lamb Chop, and Hush Puppy) get together to create enchanting listening on songs like "Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella," "Go Fly a Kite," and "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo." The music is technically from another era, but it continues to sound classic and timeless.

A clip from the original Shari Lewis Show (NBC, 1961) - Shari and Lamb Chop endorsing Matey Soap.

This is an actual commercial for Matey Soap done by Shari and Lambchop in 1961.

The Best of Shari Lewis videos - Relive your childhood memories with these great performances.

Please take the time to watch the following videos and see for yourself what a great performer Shari Lewis truly was.

Share your thoughts about the late puppeteer.

Quick, what do you think of Shari Lewis?

See results

Lamb Chop lives on through her "sister" Mallory Lewis, Shari's daughter. Mallory, or Mally as she is called, is a multiple Emmy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner for "Outstanding Writing in a Children's Series". Lewis has an extensive background in all aspects of television production including writing, producing, and performing. She began her career at age 12 working with her mother by ghostwriting for her newspaper column. After writing and producing for the Lamb Chop's Play-Along show, Mally assumed the responsibilities of her mother's three prime-time variety specials, and served as executive story editor and producer of The Charlie Horse Music Pizza.

Read more about Mally Lewis and her adventures with Lamb Chop on their website:

Adorable Lamb Chop puppets - Now you can have your very own Lamb Chop plush toy!

"Self esteem comes from doing something and accomplishing something." --Shari Lewis

"Self esteem comes from doing something and accomplishing something." --Shari Lewis
"Self esteem comes from doing something and accomplishing something." --Shari Lewis

Your thoughts on this page are most welcome too.

What do you remember about Shari Lewis? - Share your stories and memories of The Shari Show or Lamb Chop's Play Along here.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      When I was a little girl I would get up and turn on the TV to watch Shari Lewis. The big tree and lambchop and pretty Shari Lewis. I loved her she seemed just like my mother. And lambchop was so sassy he would make me laugh. I was mezmerized watching the whole show. And I think she danced. It was a happier time and I will cherish those mornings with shari lewis till the day I die.

    • profile image

      SimplyHolly 5 years ago

      "This is the song that never ends....." I would sing that song over and over and over! Loved that show!

    • EditPhotos profile image

      Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

      Great lens. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a wonderful lens, so many great memories, I loved Shari Lewis and of course Lamb Chop! The good old days when things were just simpler.

    • profile image

      charity7 6 years ago

      OMG this brought back memories of my childhood in the early 60s. Lamb Chop was my favorite along with Charlie Horse. I had both of those puppets too. I wonder how much they would be worth if I still had them? I didn't know the show had been syndicated in the 1990s. Thanks for the memory!

    • kristiene lm profile image

      kristiene lm 6 years ago

      The other day I was talking to one of my friends, and she mentioned that her counselor suggested she start using affirmations to help her make some changes in her life.

      I said Cool! I happen to know something about writing and using Self Esteem Affirmations.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Shari Lewis was, and still is a genius. But mostly one of the worlds most important, and entertaining women of all times. Her music and comedy,and of course, Lamb Chop is Priceless, as well as timeless. What a woman!

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 7 years ago

      I love Shari Lewis - this is a wonderful tribute to her. I've added this lens to my featured lenses module on my gotta love them dummies lens. Giving this lens the 5 stars it deserves!

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

      You've created a lovely tribute to Shari Lewis; I remember her well and, even as a teenager, I enjoyed watching Lamb Chop and Shari interacting with each other. I had not realized Shari's daughter had taken over...so thank you for letting me know.

    • profile image

      thewishpearl 7 years ago

      Omg! I had no idea that the wonderful work of Shari Lewis continues through her daughter. I am a huge fan! In fact my favorite halloween costume is the one of Lamb Chop that I made for my daughter several years ago. I didn't even know that Mally Lewis had a program. Would love to see it! Fantastic lens!

    • poptastic profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      Thank you for the kind comments and the blessing, ladies! I really appreciate you stopping by (:

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 7 years ago

      Excellent SquidWho lens!...Blessed!

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Shari and Lamb Chop were very popular in the UK. I loved her when I was a kid.... so cute! Thanks for the memory. Lovely lens.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      This is quite a nice tribute that you have crafted for Shari Lewis -- an amazingly talented lady! Who doesn't love Lamb Chop I ask???c

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Oh this is lovely! I have happy memories of watching Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop with my daughter.