Caroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer behind Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, died Sunday at the age of 85.
Spinney is behind the roles of Big Bird and Oscar in Sesame StreetPremiere of 1969. He remained with the program for five decades, until he retired in October 2018. Upon his retirement, Spinney issued a statement, which read in part: “Before coming to Sesame Street, I didn’t feel that what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my goal. Even if I quit my roles, I feel like I’ll always be Big Bird. And even Oscar, from time to time! They gave me great joy, led me to my true vocation – and to my wonderful wife! – and created a lifetime of memories that I will cherish forever.
For his life’s work, Spinney has received four Daytime Emmy Awards, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress, two Grammy Awards and a Star on the Hollywood Walk to Glory.
âCaroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest daysâ¦ and its legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be endless, âSesame Workshop said in a declaration. “His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to play the larger-than-life yellow bird that has delighted generations of children and countless fans of all ages across the world, and his adorably cantankerous crank gave everyone permission to be cranky once. in a whileâ¦ With deep 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 her children and grandchildren.
Scroll down to watch Sesame Streetthe 2018 tribute to Spinney.