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To some, Grover's upbringing sounds romantic and exciting. But to a young Grovski Carbunkle, born in a dingy flat in Queens on October 14th, 1955, it was anything but. It was not the type of happy family that would inspire family portraits or even custom photo books. Grover's father was a tyrant who was seldom at home to care for him and his brood of 9 brothers and sisters, and when his dad was home he made life very difficult for the whole family. "My father was a very unhappy person," remarked Grover in a moment of candor during a 1976 interview. "And he resented my cuteness." But instead of allowing his circumstances to overcome him, Grover quit kindergarten and went out to work to win the money his family needed and which his father invariably spent on prostitutes. For several years he worked as a shoeshine monster in Manhattan. It was during this time that he first got the performing bug into his veins.

"There were always these street performers around in those days," remarked Grover in another interview with Playboy magazine in 1979. "Tap dancers, buskers and comedians. That is where I first met Fozzie." Fozzie Bear was an early friend and confidante to a young Grovski, and the two worked together on comedy routines that more often than not got them chased down the street and pelted with rotten fruit. "That was hard on me," said Grover. "But Foz was tough- he had been around the block a few times, and if he could not make a buck with the Polish jokes on a bad day he knew a few good dumpsters we could hit on the way home."

But Grover grew tired of this scrappy existence, and towards the end of the sixties found work as a waiter at Charlie's, a mid-scale uptown eatery. "Oh, I was terrible," said Grover. "I could never seem to get any of the orders right, I was always dropping my tray, and my boss, Charlie, did not like cute blue monsters at all." It was while working here in 1968 that Grover was to meet his destiny and open a whole new door in his life. A couple of would-be bohemians who worked in theatre frequented Charlie's from time to time. They had encountered Grover & Fozzie's street performances once or twice and found them amusing, but it was Grover's clumsy bungling in the restaurant that really made them laugh. One day this couple, known to Grover only as Ernie and Bert, asked him if he might want to audition for a new television show they were throwing together, a little project tentatively called "Sesame Street". It was a moment that would change his life forever.

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