Remember Shari Lewis? The puppeteer’s daughter is carrying on her mom’s legacy — and introducing Lamb Chop to a new generation

Shari Lewis was TV favorite for generations of kids: the beloved puppeteer and ventriloquist was best known for her creation Lamb Chop, the spunky sock puppet with a thick New York accent.

Shari passed away in 1998 at the age of 65, but her legacy lives on through her daughter, who is bringing Lamb Chop and her pals back for a new generation.

Wikimedia Commons

Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop

Shari Lewis, born in New York City on January 17, 1933, was a staple of children’s TV for decades. After winning first prize on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1952 for her puppet skills, she hosted several children’s series on local New York TV.

She debuted her most famous character Lamb Chop on Captain Kangaroo in 1956, and other characters like Charlie Horse and Hush Puppy on the local series Hi Mom. Shari and her puppets got their own NBC series, The Shari Lewis Show, from 1960 to 1963.

Shari continued to perform with Lamb Chop and company for decades, and in 1992 got a PBS series called Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, which ran for five seasons and introduced another generation to the beloved puppets.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

She then created another series called The Charlie Horse Music Pizza, but soon after got some heartbreaking health news. She was diagnosed with inoperable uterine cancer in 1998 and was given weeks to live. Despite the diagnosis, she insisted on filming a final episode of Charlie Horse. While undergoing chemotherapy, she developed pneumonia and died on August 2, 1998.

Through her decades-long career, Shari had earned 12 Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, and was one of the most famous puppeteers in history.

Sherry Lewis and Lambchop during 1993 VSDA Convention – July 12, 1993 at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV., United States. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)

Mallory Lewis: continuing her mom’s legacy

But while Shari Lewis is gone, Lamb Chop is still alive and well: her daughter Mallory has been continuing her mom’s legacy and performing as the famous puppet.

While Mallory had worked with her mom on her later TV series, she had never dreamed of taking over for her. “I never touched Lamb Chop till my mom died,” she told People Magazine in 2000.  “I never even tried her voice, let alone the ventriloquism.”

But actor Dom DeLuise, a longtime friend, urged Mallory to consider taking over the role as Lamb Chop’s puppeteer. Months after Shari’s passing, Mallory put on the sock puppet and found it was surprisingly natural to perform her mom’s role, and said it was like “channeling Lamb Chop.”

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When Mallory accepted her mom’s posthumous Emmy Award win for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series, she wowed the audience by giving a speech as Lamb Chop: “Shari would be so proud,” the puppet said.

Ever since then, Mallory has been touring the country with Lamb Chop in two different shows: A Lamb Chop Celebration, which is for families, and The Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop Legacy Show, which is geared towards adults.

But Mallory and Lamb Chop have reached an even wider audience on the internet. Mallory posts daily TikTok videos on her own account with Lamb Chop, which have garnered millions of views. Watching them, it’s incredible how closely Mallory resembles her late mom’s famous act.

In bringing Lamb Chop to the digital age, Mallory is feeding nostalgia for adults who grew up with Shari’s shows as kids, but she also hopes that her performances will resonate with today’s children.

“Little kids need to be loved. Little kids need to be challenged. Little kids need to be encouraged,” Mallory told Today. “Little kids need food, water and a warm lap. Little kids need a kind adult in their lives.”

“It’s a tough world to be a parent and a tough world to be a kid,” she added.

Kathy Hutchins /

Mallory, who is also promoting a new documentary called Shari & Lamb Chop, remembers her mom not just as a great children’s entertainer but as a trailblazer for women in the entertainment industry.

“People think of my mom as a nice little lady who played with puppets. Well, she was powerful,” she told Today. “She was smart. She was strong. She was a woman in the 50s who not only had her own production company, but had her own credit card, which was almost impossible in the 50s.”

As for the enduring popularity of Lamb Chop, she added: “Lamb Chop was born almost 70 years ago, and she is taking the socials by storm and it makes me really proud.”

In addition to Lamb Chop, Mallory occasionally brings back other characters like Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse. While she holds the rights to perform as Lamb Chop live, DreamWorks owns the TV rights due to a deal Shari made before her death, but Mallory hopes to bring the characters back to television someday.

And yes, Lamb Chop is still singing “The Song That Doesn’t End.”

It’s heartwarming to see Lamb Chop is still around, more than 25 years after Shari Lewis passed away. She left big shoes to fill, but her daughter Mallory has done a great job continuing on her legacy.

Please share this story if you grew up watching Lamb Chop!

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