Remember Big Bird, the big yellow bird who lives on Sesame Street, and Oscar the Grouch, the green monster who lives in a garbage can on that same street? Well, the person behind these two pals is a man named Caroll Spinney. Mr. Spinney has been playing the voices of both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for fifty years. Yep, one man, but two very different voices and personalities—go figure! After many years of teaching and entertaining children through these puppets, Mr. Spinney has decided to retire. When asked about his experience, Mr. Spinney said, “I always thought how fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets. Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life.” He now plans to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop, an organization that aims to bring educational resources to kids.
For his final curtain call, Mr. Spinney will be the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch one last time for the episodes that will air during the 50th anniversary celebration of Sesame Street. Thanks for all the words of wisdom, lessons of kindness, and friendship all these years. Happy retirement to Mr. Spinney!
Side note: If you’re concerned that Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch will be retiring too, you need not worry because other people (the puppeteer who voices Grover, will now also voice Oscar the Grouch!) have already been tasked to continue as the voices of these beloved puppets. Phew!