‘Sesame Street’s original big bird, Caroll Spinney, retiring after 49 years

‘Sesame Street’s original big bird, Caroll Spinney, retiring after 49 years

The famed puppeteer who’s been enjoying Big Chook and Oscar the Grouch on “Sesame Avenue” since its debut in 1969 will go away the present this week.

On Thursday, Caroll Spinney, 84, will lend his voice to the 2 iconic characters one final time earlier than retiring. He’ll move on his roles to new performers.

“Big Chook introduced me so many locations, opened my thoughts and nurtured my soul,” stated Spinney in an announcement. “And I plan to be an envoy for Sesame Workshop for a lot of years to return. In spite of everything, we’re a household! However now it’s time for 2 performers that I’ve labored with and revered – and truly hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Chook and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their arms and proceed to present them life.”

A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop instructed the New York Instances that Spinney appeared in roughly 1000’s of episodes of the greater than 4,400 episodes aired. And in 2012, The Atlantic reported that Spinney made about $314,000 a yr on the present. Spinney even met his spouse of 45 years, Debra, on set in 1973.

“Earlier than I got here to Sesame Avenue, I didn’t really feel like what I used to be doing was crucial. Big Chook helped me discover my goal,” Spinney stated. “Whilst I step down from my roles, I really feel I’ll at all times be Big Chook.”

Whereas Spinney had not been contemplating leaving the present, in 2015, he needed to cease puppeteering for Big Chook because of well being points. Since then he’s been offering solely voices for Big Chook and Oscar.

His roles have captured the hearts of adults and youngsters alike in addition to introduced Spinney acclaim all through the years.

Spinney has 4 honorary doctorates, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, six different Emmys, two Gold Information and two Grammy honors. His life and profession have been showcased within the 2014 documentary movie, “I Am Big Chook.”

His remaining recordings will probably be aired on “Sesame Street’s” 50th anniversary in 2020 on PBS.


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