The Preschool Entertainment industry was shocked and saddened this morning to hear of the unexpected death of Mr. Table Salt - long time cast member of reality series Blue's Clues. While details are still sketchy, sources say that Mr. Salt died when Steve drunkenly knocked him off the counter while visiting from college. Mr. Salt was 24.
Mr. Salt, and his wife Mrs. Pepper, gained fame and fortune as the kitchen helpers for Steve, and later his brother, Joe, on Blue's Clues. They were part of the original casting for the show - a children's knockoff of Britain's popular Big Brother show. The show observed a human, his animated dog, and their adventures with animated friends. Life lessons were learned and much was taught. The show survived many twists and turns. After six years, Steve decided to leave the show and go to college. He was replaced by his brother, Joe. The audience dropped severely with Joe's arrival - largely due to the fact that he was "creepy" and "sporting a bad hairpiece." The show eventually switched formats - focusing on a new talking puppet version of Blue and her new friends. The name changed to Blue's Room and the original cast largely was discarded.
The change was hard for Mr. Salt to accept. His moods had begun to change. Early on, he was helpful and kind-hearted. But as things changed, he began to be more sullen and withdrawn. He and his wife had made their lives open books for the world to see. They celebrated the births of their two daughters, Cinnamon and Paprika, with the world - making the announcements and broadcasting the births on air. Mrs. Pepper's mother, Cayenne, came to live with the family later in the series. Some have speculated on whether this life change added to Mr. Salt's stress. But at the heart of the issue, he felt betrayed by the show's producers and its star - Blue. He also missed the spotlight of celebrity.
Mr. Salt tried to resurrect his career with bit parts in several films, including Ratatouille and this summer's smash, Up. He even went against type and played a shaker full of cocaine in Johnny Depp's film, Blow. But he never could capture the magic again. Rumors swirled that he was undergoing rice injections to keep himself looking youthful. Several paparazzi snapped shots of the telltale grains showing through his shaker. Another source accused Mrs. Pepper of an affair with Mr. Chicken Salt, of the Australian version of Blue's Clues. Though later disproved, the family was humiliated. They decided that the public eye was the wrong place for them to continue living.
After withdrawing from Hollywood, Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper tried to use their wealth to help those around them. In 2006, they took in a college students from Italy, Oregano. And in 2007, they adopted a Mexican orphan, Cumin. After Hurricane Katrina, the family took in several cases of seasoning while their restaurant was being repaired. They even made an appearance in support of Food Network's Great American Bake Sale, to help combat hunger.
Mr. Salt is survived by his wife, Mrs. Pepper; his three children, Paprika, Cinnamon, and Cumin; his mother-in-law, Cayenne; his brothers, Mr. Kosher Salt and Mr. Pretzel Salt; and his mother, Mrs. Lo Salt. A public memorial service will be held at Nickelodeon Studios, at 6:30pm, on Monday, July 6, 2009. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations be made to Share Our Strength, to help fight hunger.