Caroll Spinney, the legendary actor and puppeteer behind longtime “Sesame Street” neighbors Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch, has died at 85. Sesame Workshop has confirmed that he died at his Connecticut home yesterday.
Spinney was a staple of the “Sesame Street” family for almost 50 years, since the show’s premiere in 1969. Last year, he announced his retirement after being diagnosed with dystonia, a neurological movement disorder.
“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 fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while,” reads Sesame Workshop’s statement. “With deepest admiration, Sesame Workshop is proud to carry his memory – and his beloved characters – into the future.”
Source: Sesame Workshop