Puppeteer who played Big Bird on 'Sesame Street' retiring

Tabitha Dunn
October 18, 2018

Spinney has won six Emmys, an Emmy lifetime achievement award and two Grammys during his time with the program and was even the subject of a 2004 documentary, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.

"I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come".

When he took the job in the late '60s, Spinney was working for Bozo the Clown, which he once admitted paid better than Sesame Street.

"He stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and has since been providing only the voices for him and Oscar", The New York Times reported.

"Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird". He had met Jim Henson at a puppetry festival in 1962, and Henson invited him to be a part of this new show he was creating.

Big Bird, the instantly recognizable giant yellow bird with the huge beak, is more than eight feet (2.5 meters) tall. "Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life".

Spinney took the characters and made them his own, with Big Bird's childlike wonder and Oscar's grumpy wit working its way into the hearts of millions of fans.

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The 84-year-old actor has appeared in thousands of episodes of the beloved children's series, according to Sesame Workshop.

Sesame Street has been, and remains a feature of childhoods around the world for years now, but it will never be the same again.

Vogel also plays Kermit the Frog and Count von Count.

Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of the non-profit media and educational organization, called Spinney "one of the leading lights of Sesame Street from the very beginning" and praised his "genius" and "talent".

Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch became fixtures of American pop culture, launching Spinney's career and giving him the chance to bring the characters to audiences around the world. Eric Jacobsen will play the role of Oscar the Grouch, the grumpy green character who lives in a garbage can.

Spinney, who has played both Big Bird and Oscar since the show's 1969 premiere, announced his retirement in a statement that Sesame Street shared on Twitter on Wednesday.

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