- Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind “Sesame Street” icons Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, is retiring.
- He worked on the show for nearly 50 years.
- Spinney has worked on the show ever since it began in 1969.
On Wednesday, Caroll Spinney, the 84 year-old puppeteer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, announced his retirement.
Big Bird is one of the most iconic characters on “Sesame Street,” and Spinney portrayed the character along with Oscar the Grouch ever since the show premiered in 1969.
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation that produces “Sesame Street,” shared the news Wednesday morning, which included a statement from Spinney celebrating his time on the show and saying that he “hand-picked” his replacements for the jobs.
“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul. And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”
“Caroll has been one of the leading lights of “Sesame Street” from the very beginning,” Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said. “His genius and his talent made Big Bird the most beloved yellow feathered friend across the globe. But the sheer artistry of Caroll is that he also brought Oscar to life and made him the most loveable Grouch in the world.”
Spinney is handing the role of Big Bird Matt Vogel, and the role of Oscar the Grouch to Eric Jacobson.
“Before I came to ‘Sesame Street,’ I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important,” Spinney said. “Big Bird helped me find my purpose. Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird. And even Oscar, once in a while!”
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