Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are a couple of the most iconic characters in Sesame Street. While these two are widely recognizable, few people know the man behind them.
Caroll Spinney is the puppeteer behind our two of our most beloved Sesame Street residents. Tragic news struck the world after Sesame Workshop announced that Spinney had passed away on Sunday.
According to multiple news sources, Spinney died in his home in Connecticut following his battle with dystonia. This disorder affects a person’s movement as muscles uncontrollably contract.
Spinney was 85 at the time of his passing. In a recent press release, the co-founder of the hit American TV show Joan Ganz Cooney said:
“Caroll Spinney’s contributions to Sesame Street are countless. He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch he gave so much of himself as well.”
Cooney further stated that members of Sesame Workshop continue to “mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world.”
Back in October 2018, Spinney announced that he was retiring from the roles Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. This signified the end of an era for many fans of the show who grew up watching Sesame Street as a substantial part of their childhoods.
Caroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, died today, December 8th 2019, at age 85 at his home in Connecticut, after living with Dystonia for some time. https://t.co/q7FVDul5WT pic.twitter.com/CvWBD0NQyp
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) December 8, 2019
Prior to his retirement, Spinney had given life to his characters for five decades as the show became a massive international success. Sesame Street is one of the handfuls of children’s shows that have truly stood the test of time as generations of viewers watched.
Ben is is a senior journalist and sport columnist for Best in Australia. He previously worked for the BC and other radio stations.