He Was Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch: Farewell Caroll Spinney, Sesame Steet Muppeteer

By | October 19, 2018

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Caroll Spinney, Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 33rd Annual Creative Arts EMMY Awards, with Oscar the Grouch (Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage)

You may not have know the name Caroll Spinney, but you are probably familiar with the role he played for 50 years. Spinney, the puppeteer -- or Muppeteer -- who portrayed both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, died on December 8, 2019, at the age of 85. Spinney had been a cast member on Sesame Street from its beginning in 1969 through his retirement in 2018. Let us look back at the remarkable career for this maverick puppeteer and childhood icon. 

Spinney Became Fascinated With Puppets As A Child

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Caroll Spinney, born in 1933, saw his first puppet show when he was just five years old, but he was fascinated by the show. He soon crafted his own puppets and started putting on his own little puppet shows. He got a Punch and Judy puppet theater for Christmas and further developed his puppetry skills. As a teenager, he even put on puppet shows as a way to earn money for college.