WOODSTOCK, Conn. — The puppeteer who played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.
Caroll Spinney tells The New York Times that Thursday will be his last day on the show, which he joined from the start in 1969. In addition to Big Bird, the 84-year-old was also Oscar the Grouch.
Spinney says “I always thought, how lucky for me to have been able to play the two best Muppets?”
Spinney says the physical demands to portray the characters had become difficult and he developed balance issues. He quit puppetry for Big Bird in 2015 and now only provides the voices for him and Oscar.
His apprentice, Matt Vogel, will succeed him in the role of Big Bird. He also plays Kermit the Frog.