Originally from Yardley, Pennsylvania, Barretta was trained at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City as an actor & has appeared in the feature films Murder in the 1st & Born to Be Wild. He also worked as a carpenter before joining Henson. He met Brian Henson while they were both working at Sesame Place, & the younger Henson encouraged him to join the Company.
His 1st break came performing the body of Earl Sinclair on Dinosaurs. Barretta, from suit performance, transitioned to assisting & supporting roles in The Animal Show, playing multiple small character roles in Muppet Classic Theater & Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, & made his film debut as a principal performer in the 1996 movie Muppet Treasure Island playing Clueless Morgan. He later developed a whole bunch of new characters on Muppets Tonight, which include Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear & Johnny Fiama.
As well as having his own Muppet characters, Barretta has taken over several of Jim Henson's main characters, namely the Swedish Chef, Mahna Mahna, Rowlf the Dog, & Dr. Teeth. Most recently, he has also taken on the role of Louie, Elmo's dad, in Sesame Beginnings.
In addition, Barretta has served as a producer for It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie & The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, & co-wrote the screenplay of the Creature Shop film Jack & the Beanstalk : The Real Story (appearing on camera as Thunderdell).
Barretta directed a test pilot for the America's Next Muppet pitch & directed another presentation pilot featuring the Muppets in mock documentary style, focusing on the Muppets' efforts to launch a network television series. The next presentation pilot was written & produced by Bill Prady & featured puppetry by Barretta, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire & Eric Jacobson.
- Jim Henson (The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence (1975) - The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990)) (taken from us on Wednesday, May 16th, (1990)
- John Kennedy: Muppets on Location: Days of Swine & Roses (1991), Muppet Treasure Island video game (1996), Muppets from Space (1999), Muppet RaceMania video game (2000), We Are Family music video (2002), Muppet Party Cruise video game (2003)
- Pepe the King Prawn (Muppets Tonight (1996) - present)
- Bobo the Bear (Muppets Tonight (1996) - present)
- Johnny Fiama (Muppets Tonight (1996) - present)
- Big Mean Carl (Muppets Tonight (1996) - present)
- 1 of the Elvises
- Bubba the Rat
- Zippity Zap
- Sesame Street: Bip Bippadotta (Episode 4203)
- Dinosaurs: Earl Sinclair (body)
- Muppets on Wheels
- The Animal Show: Armstrong the Chicken Hawk, Bubba the Walrus, Dave the Human, Jake(right hand), various guest animals including Tommy the Thomson's Gazelle, Sly the Crocodile, Eugene the Hunting Dog, Randall the Zebra, Frankie the Wildebeest, Slick the Sea Lion, Lenny the Crocodile, Guffrey the Vulture, Octavio the Octopus, Lamont the Sloth, Jared the Tiger, Rudy the Spider, Johnny the Wolf, Vernon the Grizzly Bear, Baby Bear (voiceover), Gabi the Gila Monster, Rocky the Bighorn Sheep, Humphrey the Badger, Lazlo the Hyena, Nemets the Ant, Bufo the Toad, Travis the African Buffalo, Milton the Blue-Footed Booby, D'kembe the Gemsbok, Rudy the Roadrunner, Custer the Bison, Dullard the Aardvark, Cornelius the Crab, Timothy the Owl, Paul the Pelican, Stanley the Mouse, Frankie the Crocodile, Mel the Lemur, Max the Wasp, Bart the Coyote, Galahad the Grasshopper Mouse, Larry the Fish, Charlie the Chamois, Julius the Spoonbill, Quincy the Flying Squirrel, Kyle the Secretary Bird & Malcolm the Lion
- Muppet Treasure Island: Clueless Morgan, Flaubert, Blind Pew (hands), Pigs, Angel Marie, Mudwell the Mudbunny, Mr. Bitte, the Swedish Chef
- Things That Fly: Balloon Salesman Whatnot, Pigs, Pilot, Slick
- Muppets Tonight: The AL-1995 Plus Tax, Baby George, Carla the Big Mean Mom, David Hoggselhoff, Dr. Phil van Neuter (hands only), Rowlf the Dog
- The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: Uncle Berklummer
- Muppets from Space: Lead-singing Alien Gonzo, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear & Rowlf the Dog,
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland: Additional performer
- Kermit's Swamp Years: Croaker, Horace D' Fly
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie: Lew Zealand, Pepe the King Prawn, Rowlf the Dog & Bobo the Bear
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz: Pepe the King Prawn, Lew Zealand, Dr. Teeth
- Sesame Beginnings: Louie
- Xtreme Digital Disney Xtreme Digital: Bigger Burger Drive Thru Man, Topo Sticky, Pickles (alligator)
- Studio DC: Almost Live!: Dr. Teeth, Pepe Pepe the King Prawn & The Swedish Chef
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: Bobo the Bear, Husband Pigeon, Pepe the King Prawn, Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Dr. Teeth
- Families Stand Together: Louie
- Christmas in Rockefeller Center: Dr. Teeth & Pepe the King Prawn
- The Muppets: Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Mahna Mahna, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Muppet Gary, Behemoth, Hobo Muppet, Singing Food in "Me Party"
- Muppets Most Wanted: Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Mahna Mahna, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear
- The Muppets: Operation STS (Save the Swamp): Rowlf the Dog, the Swedish Chef, Mahna Mahna, Dr. Teeth, Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Cousin Frogger
- Dinosaurs, "A New Leaf"- choreographer, with Leif Tilden, of "It's a Most Unusual Day"
- Long John Silver's commercials - director
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie - stage director
- Jack & the Beanstalk : The Real Story - co-writer
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie - producer
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz - producer
- Tinseltown - executive producer, writer, director
- The Muppets - associate producer, The Muppets captain
- Barretta attended St. Mary's Hall in Burlington, New Jersey
- Barretta, in addition to his puppeteering, has provided several episodic character voices on the Disney Channel animated series Kim Possible.
- He is the brother of Gene Barretta.
- Barretta met Jim Henson twice; once at Sesame Place, where he helped Jim find the automated characters, & later at his apartment.
- Rowlf talked about Barretta in 2011: "Bill Barretta? That name sure is familiar, but I can't quite place him...Oh, wait a second, is that the fellow who gives me a lift now & then? Sure! Great guy-funny, creative, & I can beat him at cards. What's not to like?"
- Characters of Jim Henson's Bill Barretta has now performed once or consistently are:
Special extra pictures
- Bill Barretta Cameos
- Muppet Performers
- Muppet Puppeteers
- Muppet Voice Actors
- Bill Barretta on the Muppet Wiki
- Bill Barretta on the Puppet Wiki
- Bill Barretta on the Grouches Wiki
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