Mass. Native Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street’s Big Bird & Oscar, Is Retiring

Caroll Spinney Sesame Street

CREDIT Kevork Djansezian AP REX Shutterstock

"His genius and his talent made Big Bird the most beloved yellow feathered friend across the globe". He also served in the United States Air Force, but he said that Sesame Street's positive message to its young audience made him feel like he was really fulfilling a goal in life.

Caroll Spinney told The New York Times he was retiring from "Sesame Street" after portraying Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. Both puppeteers also portray characters for Disney's Muppet franchise.

Caroll Spinney has been a television mainstay since 1969, but his face has rarely made an appearance. 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.

Oscar the Grouch will be played by Eric Jacobson, a puppeteer who also performs Grover, Bert, and Guy Smiley for "Sesame Street", as well as Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy for the Muppets.

Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul. "And even Oscar, once in a while!", he added.

The Sesame Workshop released a video tribute to Spinney's time on the show (shown above), including archival footage of the pilot episode.

Spinney, 84, will finish his work on the show this week, after which new actors will assume the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, another of his characters, The New York Times reported.

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

His life and career have been documented in the widely-acclaimed 2014 film, I Am Big Bird.

Spinney told The New York Times that the physical requirements of the character became more hard for him after he had developed balance issues. Spinney joined the series in 1969 and puppeteered and voiced Big Bird until 2015, when it became too hard for him physically. "They have given me great joy, led me to my true calling and created a lifetime of memories that I will cherish forever". "And the children bought it".

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