‘Sesame Street’ veteran performer, Carroll Spinney, dies at 85
Carroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on "Sesame Street," died Sunday at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut.
The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that the legendary puppeteer had lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.
Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets from their inception in 1969 when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids' television show that later moved to HBO.
The same statement from Sesame Workshop said "Caroll’s kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street. His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while."
Spinney is survived by his wife, Debra, as well as children and grandchildren.
At the time of his retirement in October 2018, Sesame Street shared a video tribute with clips of Spinney both on-set and talking about his legacy with the show created by Jim Henson. You can see the video below:
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