Carroll Spinney, the puppeteer who played Big Bird on the show for nearly 50 years, has died at age 85, Sesame Workshop announced in a statement Sunday. “Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades, and his legacy here at Sesame Workshop and in the cultural firmament will be unending,” the statement said. “His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while,” the statement added. RELATED: The Original Big Bird Puppeteer Is Retiring After Almost 50 Years on Sesame Street Sesame Street‘s co-founder said of Spinney in the statement, “Caroll Spinney’s contributions to Sesame Street are countless. Nearly 50 years after joining the series, Spinney retired from his roles as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch in October 2018.
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