Q: We get a kick out of the Mr. Noodle character on "Sesame Street." Has he done other comedic work? What is the actor's real name?
A: The character in the "Elmo's World" segments of "Sesame Street" is played by the multitalented Bill Irwin. He has been nominated for Tony awards as an actor, director and choreographer and writer, and won a 2005 acting Tony for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." He has co-starred in "Waiting for Godot" with Steve Martin and Robin Williams and has been the creepy killer Nate Haskell on "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," in addition to other stage, TV and screen performances. (For example, you can also see him with Williams in Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" video, and with Martin in "My Blue Heaven.") In 1984, he received one of the "genius grants" from the MacArthur Foundation; he is also in the International Clown Hall of Fame. He has been playing Mr. Noodle since 1998.
By the way, Mr. Noodle had a brother, The Other Mr. Noodle, played by Tony and Emmy winner Michael Jeter from 2000 until his death in 2003. And Kristin Chenoweth and Sarah Jones have appeared as Noodle sisters. Both are also Tony winners -- Chenoweth as a performer, Jones as writer and star of the play "Bridge & Tunnel" -- which shows how much talent has passed through "Sesame Street," and how well some people use their Noodles.
Q: I've been looking for the TV series "Mayberry, RFD," and the TV-movie "Return to Mayberry" on DVD. I've never found either of them.
A: I do not know of an authorized release of "Mayberry, RFD," which succeeded "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1968 to 1971. The centerpiece was Sam Jones, played by Ken Berry, but several supporting players from the Griffith Show were also featured. "Return to Mayberry," a 1986 movie reuniting the Griffith Show cast, is not available as a separate, authorized DVD as far as I can tell. But it has been included in some compilations, including "The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: The Best of Mayberry" set.
Q: Are any of the characters on "Big Bang Theory" married in real life?
A: Simon Hedberg, who plays Howard, and Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy, both mention spouses in their CBS bios. Kunal Nayyar (Raj) married Neha Kapur, a former Miss India, late last year. Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, is not married but has been with the same man for 10 years, according to the New York Times. I have not seen any current marriages for other performers on the show -- although Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny, said in a 2010 interview with CBS' Watch! magazine that she and co-star Johnny Galecki (Leonard) dated for almost two years before breaking up. "Big Bang Theory" will begin a new season on CBS in the fall.