‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Has Passed Away at 85

‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Has Passed Away at 85

08 Dec 2019 (PT)
SESAME STREET

Caroll Spinney may not be a name that you’re familiar with, and there’s a chance you may have never seen his face. But you’ve undoubtedly seen his work, and he might have even shaped your childhood. Spinney is the puppeteer behind Sesame Street character Big Bird, as well as the grumpy Oscar the Grouch. After 50 years with the show, hired personally by Jim Henson himself, Spinney retired last fall, and this year he said his final farewell, having passed away at 85 years old.

Sesame Workshop made the announcement of Caroll Spinney dead after living with Dystonia for some time. He died at his home in Connecticut, and his longtime television home released this statement in his honor:

“Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define  Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending. His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while.

Welcomed to  Sesame Street by Jim Henson, Caroll thrived under a mentorship that led to a decades-long great friendship. Caroll’s unparalleled career saw Big Bird visit China with Bob Hope, dance with the Rockettes, be celebrated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. A favorite highlight for Caroll was conducting symphony orchestras and performing with them across the United States, Australia, and China, allowing him to personally connect with families everywhere through the music of  Sesame Street. Caroll Spinney gave something truly special to the world. With deepest admiration, Sesame Workshop is proud to carry his memory – and his beloved characters – into the future. Our hearts go out to Caroll’s beloved wife, Debra, and all of his children and grandchildren.”

When retiring from Sesame Street last year, Spinney fondly remembered the half century he spent at Sesame Workship, telling The New York Times, “I always thought, ‘How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets. Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life.”

If you’d like to know more about the life and career of Caroll Spinney, check out the documentary I Am Big Bird.

Source: Slashfilm.com

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‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Has Passed Away at 85
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