Lamb Chop is a sock puppet anthropomorphic sheep created by puppeteer and ventriloquist Shari Lewis. In 1957 the character, a female lamb, first appeared during Lewis' guest appearance on Captain Kangaroo in March 1956 and later appeared on Hi Mom (1957–1959), a local morning show that aired on WRCA-TV in New York, New York.
Lamb Chop has been described as a "6-year-old girl, very intuitive and very feisty, a combination of obstinacy and vulnerability...you know how they say fools rush in where wise men fear to go? Well, Lamb Chop would rush in, then scream for help." Lamb Chop, in all her shows, had referred to her close friend, a girl named Lolly Pincus.
From 1960 to 1963, Shari Lewis had her own musical-comedy network television show called The Shari Lewis Show. As children's programming turned more towards animation in the mid-1960s, she continued to perform in a wide range of venues. In 1992, Lamb Chop and Shari began their own PBS children's show, Lamb Chop's Play-Along, an Emmy Award winner for five consecutive years. The show lasted approximately 25 minutes per episode. On PBS, it premiered September 10, 1992 and was last shown on January 1, 1997. From 2007 to 2009 it was shown on Qubo. Episodes can be found on YouTube. Lamb Chop then went on to co-star with Shari on the short lived spin off The Charlie Horse Music Pizza. The show was canceled after Shari Lewis died on August 2, 1998. The last episode of The Charlie Horse Music Pizza aired on January 17, 1999.
In 1993, when Shari Lewis appeared before the U.S. Congress in an oversight hearing on the Children's Television Act, Lamb Chop provided her own testimony.
Shari Lewis died from pneumonia on August 2, 1998 in Los Angeles, California. Two years later, her daughter, producer and writer Mallory Lewis, began to perform with Lamb Chop. Mallory had worked closely with her mother when producing Lamb Chop's Play-Along and The Charlie Horse Music Pizza. Ms. Lewis has this to say about her mother and Lamb Chop:
My mom was one of the world's greatest entertainers. I don't want to challenge that. I don't think it's wise to go there. But I do want to do everything that I can do for Lamb Chop. I'll help keep her going.
Shari Lewis' other puppet, Hush Puppy, made his comeback at the Iowa State Fair in 2010. Mallory doesn't perform Charlie Horse because doing his voice was hard on her vocal cords. Prior to her death Shari Lewis sold the rights of Lamb Chop to Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics, part of NBCUniversal). Her daughter Mallory still owns the live performing rights to Lamb Chop.
Mallory Lewis and Lamb Chop currently perform mainly for the US military. Lamb Chop is a three-star general in the Marines.
In the first year's collection of 9 Chickweed Lane dailies, Out Whom Shall We Gross? the August 31, 1993 strip quotes Lambchop as saying, "A virtuous man's honesty exists only in proportion to the pyre upon which he atones for it."
Mallory described Lamb Chop's values as a "liberal Jewish Democrat".