Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who has brought Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life since Sesame Street’s premiere in 1969, is retiring from the iconic roles after nearly 50 years.
Spinney, through a press release from Sesame Workshop, said that even though he is relinquishing these roles to other seasoned performers, he plans on remaining an ambassador for Sesame Workshop into the future. “Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come.” Spinney’s work with Jim Henson began after the two met at a puppetry festival in 1962, and Spinney joined the inaugural season of Sesame Street in 1969. Since then, he’s starred in hundreds of episodes of the show, winning the Legacy for Children Award in 2003 and The Christopher’s James Keller Award in 2004. His life and career were documented in the 2014 film “I Am Big Bird.”
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