Sesame Street’s Big Bird actor Caroll Spinney is retiring
After 50 years of work as the puppeteer for both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for the iconic PBS and HBO children’s series Sesame Street, 84-year-old actor Caroll Spinney is officially retiring from the roles played since the show’s beginning, according to Sesame Workshop’s Twitter.
“Caroll has been one of the leading lights of ‘Sesame Street’ from the very beginning,” said Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Workshop, in a release announcing the news. “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 lovable Grouch in the world.”
The role of Big Bird will be taken over by the series’ puppet captain Matt Vogel, who also portrays Count Von Count, and Oscar the Grouch will be taken over by Eric Jacobson, who is also the puppeteer for Grover, Bert and Guy Smiley. Both puppeteers also portray characters for Disney’s Muppet franchise.
Spinney’s retirement comes right after finishing work for the upcoming 50th season of Sesame Street, which is set to debut on HBO sometime in 2019. 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.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)