Original Big Bird Is Retiring From Sesame Street After 50 Years

Original Big Bird Is Retiring From Sesame Street After 50 Years

Original Big Bird Is Retiring From Sesame Street After 50 Years

He was forced to stop serving as the actual puppeteer for Big Bird and Oscar in 2015.

The actor behind Big Bird is retiring after 50 years. The puppeteer and performer has played two of Sesame Street's most famous characters since the show's debut: Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Spinney has worked alongside and mentored Vogel and Jacobson for more than 20 years, Sesame Workshop said. "I said, 'I think Big Bird might be more useful to the show if he were a child learning all the things we were teaching in the show.' And so he didn't know the alphabet, even, for instance".

"Caroll has been one of the leading lights of Sesame Street from the very beginning", Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder of Sesame Workshop, said in a statement. "And even Oscar, once in a while!", he added.

Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch became fixtures of American pop culture, launching Spinney's career and giving him the chance to bring the characters to audiences around the world.


"I always thought: 'How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best muppets?'" he told the New York Times. "They have given me great joy, led me to my true calling - and my wonderful wife! - and created a lifetime of memories that I will cherish forever". When I tried it out, Jim and the writers agreed, and soon Big Bird grew into a worldwide superstar. Come Thursday, Spinney will enter the "Sesame Street" studios in Astoria, Queens for the last time before leaving the roles behind forever.

Spinney said the physical requirements for the show have become more and more hard in recent years.

Spinney with Oscar the Grouch on the set of Sesame Street. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979.

Outside of Sesame Street, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch have also appeared in multiple Muppet movies, including The Muppet Movie and The Muppets Take Manhattan, the feature-length-film Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird is a must-watch for children.

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