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huffingtonpost - 2 month ago

Sesame Street s Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Dies Aged 85

Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind Sesame Street s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch characters, has died at the age of 85. The Sesame Workshop confirmed on their website that Caroll died on Sunday at his home in Connecticut after living for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.He voiced and operated the two major characters from the US children s show s inception in 1969 until retiring last year. A statement from the Sesame Workshop said: 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. Caroll Spinney gave something truly special to the world. With deepest admiration, Sesame Workshop is proud to carry his memory and his beloved characters into the future. They added: Our hearts go out to Caroll s beloved wife, Debra, and all of his children and grandchildren. Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney added of her longtime colleague and friend: Caroll Spinney s contributions to Sesame Street are countless. He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well. We at Sesame Workshop mourn his passing and feel an immense gratitude for all he has given to Sesame Street and to children around the world. Despite travelling the world and appearing in books and films as Big Bird, Caroll never became a household name in his own right. I may be the most unknown famous person in America, he said in his 2003 memoir. It s the bird that s famous. To play Big Bird, Caroll would have a monitor strapped to him as his only eyes to the outside of the giant yellow bird body, which was then was placed over him. He used his right arm to operate the head, while his left controlled both arms. In 2015, Caroll semi-retired from his iconic roles, only providing the voices of Oscar The Grouch and Big Bird until he stepped down completely last year.

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