Caroll Spinney, Puppeteer Behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Dies at 85

  • Variety
Caroll Spinney, Puppeteer Behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Dies at 85
Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 49 years at “Sesame Street,” died Sunday in Connecticut after living with dystonia. He was 85.

Sesame Workshop announced his death, calling him an “artistic genius” whose “legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending.” Spinney’s death came on the same day “Sesame Street” is to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, D.C.

“His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world,” the announcement continued, “and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while,” Sesame Workshop said.

Spinney was with “Sesame Street” from the beginning in 1969, and continued working as Big Bird and Oscar through 2018, though he stopped performing inside the
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