For half a century Caroll Spinney brought Sesame Street characters to life. The puppeteer played Oscar the Grouch, and put on a giant puppet suit to play Big Bird. Unlike Fred Rogers from Mister Rogers Neighborhood, many people who grew up watching Spinney do not even know his name.
Today we mourn Caroll Spinney’s passing. He brought joy and knowledge to generations of children through his incredible puppeteering. Even though Spinney was 5’10”, he became larger than life in the iconic yellow 8’2” Big Bird suit, which he controlled by using wires and a TV monitor to maneuver around set.
One of Spinney’s life experiences even inspired his role as Oscar the Grouch. Many do not know this, but Oscar the Grouch was inspired by a grouchy New York cab driver that Spinney met on his way to his first day of shooting.
Spinney loved each of his characters and the joy they helped him spread to the world. If you are interested in learning more about the man behind Bird, we recommend watching the documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.
How did Big Bird influence your life? Is there anything you would have liked to tell Caroll Spinney?
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