Maria Perego, Creator Of Topo Gigio Dies At 95

  • Maria Perego has died at the age of 95 at her home in Italy.
  • She is best known for creating the puppet Topo Gigio.
  • For instance, Maria and Topo Gigio received international fame after appearing on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’


Maria Perego, best known for creating the mouse puppet Topo Gigio in the late ’50s, has died. She was 95 years old. Maria created Topo Gigio with her husband, Frederico Caldura and he became a worldwide phenomenon in part thanks to The Ed Sullivan Show.


Maria’s death was announced on her Facebook page. It read, as translated from Italian, “With great pain, we announce the death of the creator of the famous character mouse Gigio. Maria Perego was an exceptional ambassador of Italian creativity; Topo Gigio took life from her hands and with her traveled to countries around the world.”


Maria Perego was working on a new Topo Gigio series when she died

Maria Perego and Topo Gigio / Mondadori via Getty Images

In addition, the post continued, “She was a tireless worker and until the end, she worked on many new projects, a brand new cartoon series by Topo Gigio and much more. Maria Perego and Topo Gigio will continue to live. We will miss you. R.I.P.”

RELATED: The Cast Behind ‘Dinosaurs’ And Funniest “Not The Mama” Moments

Italian actor and dubber Peppino Mazzullo and Maria Perego / Mario Notarangelo Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images

Topo Gigio is a 10-inch-tall puppet, who is part marionette. In addition, the puppet is moved by three puppeteers, hidden by a black background. Ed Sullivan saw a tape of the puppet on Italian television and booked Maria and Topo Gigio for the show starting in 1963. The pair made many appearances over the years.

Ed Sullivan and Topo Gigio / CBS

Ed Sullivan helped make Topo Gigio famous worldwide

According to “Sundays With Sullivan: How ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America,” a 2008 book by Bernie Ilson, “It was evident from the very first appearance, however, that the chemistry between Sullivan and Topo Gigio worked extremely well. The exchanges between Sullivan and the mouselike puppet revealed another side of the host, a warm and humanizing element.” In addition, Topo Gigio typically ended his segments saying, “Eddie, kiss me good night.”

According to the New York Times, Maria once said, for instance, “When I was called to have my puppet perform at ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in the now distant 1960s, I could not believe it was happening to me. It was like a dream. My puppet not only entered Americans’ households, but I believe he also entered their hearts.”

Maria Perego / Facebook

Maria and her husband made puppets for the Italian show Canzonissima. In 1959, Maria heard a sped-up recording that she thought sounded like a little mouse. It sparked her idea for Topo Gigio. The puppet wasn’t as popular in Italy at first, until Ed Sullivan really helped to put Maria and her mouse on the international map.

This led to books, stage shows, movies, cartoons, and more. Maria was working on a new cartoon show of Topo Gigio when she passed. In 2015, for instance, she published a book called “lo e Topo Gigio” (“Me and Topo Gigio”) in Italy.

In conclusion, watch a video of Topo Gigio on The Ed Sullivan Show below:

Show comments
Published by

Recent Posts

‘Saturday Night Live’ Pays Tribute To Bob Newhart With Nostalgic Throwback Videos

The world of comedy mourned the passing of Bob Newhart on July 18 at the…

37 mins ago

Shannen Doherty Believed She Could Have Avoided Skin Cancer If She Had Health Insurance

Shannen Doherty was confirmed dead after a decade-long battle with breast cancer, which grew into…

3 hours ago

‘Jeopardy!’s Latest Champion Opens Up About His Surprising Connection To Elvis Presley

Jay Fisher did excellently on Wednesday night’s episode of Jeopardy! but also caught viewers’ attention…

4 hours ago

The Eagles Extending Las Vegas Residency After “Overwhelming” Fan Demand

The people have spoken and the band has listened! The Eagles recently announced that they…

4 hours ago

Britney Spears Claps Back At Ozzy Osbourne And His Family Mocking Her Dancing Videos

The recent episode of The Osbourne’s Family podcast featured a discussion about popular TikTok dances,…

5 hours ago

Rod Stewart’s Wife Under Fire For Leaving Nothing To The Imagination In Bikini Photos

Rod Stewart was on a getaway with his wife, Penny Lancaster, in Sardinia, Italy, and…

6 hours ago