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Sesame Street Fans Mourn Death Of Legendary Puppeteer Behind 'Big Bird' And 'Oscar The Grouch'

Sesame Street
By Mike Walters

Fans across the country are mourning the death of legendary puppeteer who brought us Sesame Street's 'Big Bird' and 'Oscar The Grouch.'

Carol Spinney, who was behind the two beloved characters, died today at age 85, at his home in Connecticut. Spinney is survived by his beloved wife, Debra, and all of his children and grandchildren.

The kid's programming legend suffered from Dystonia for some time, which is described as, "a movement disorder in which a person's muscles contract uncontrollably. The contraction causes the affected body part to twist involuntarily, resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures."

Sesame Street confirmed the death, saying, "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. 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.

Big Bird And Oscar The Grouch -- A Legendary Career

Sesame Street

Carrol was brought to Sesame Street by creator Jim Henson who mentored him for decades and the two were longtime friends.

"Caroll’s unparalleled career saw Big Bird visit China with Bob Hope, dance with the Rockettes, be celebrated with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. A favorite highlight for Caroll was conducting symphony orchestras and performing with them across the United States, Australia, and China, allowing him to personally connect with families everywhere through the music of Sesame Street," a representative for the show said.

They continued, "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."

Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said 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.”

Fans Mourn His Passing....

Giphy | HBO

Fans of the two children's characters have been posting supportive and heartwarming reactions on social media after hearing about the passing of the legendary puppeteer.

"Big Bird and Oscar were two of my favorite characters on Sesame Street back in the day and Mr. Spinney REALLY brought them to condolences to his family. May he rest in peace. His reach had no boundaries. It couldn’t be stopped by miles or bodies of water. Kids, all over the world learned incredible lessons from him and are hopefully better adults. What an amazing person. Met he and his wife once. So much love," one fan posted.

One person put it simply, "My heart just broke into a billion pieces."

Thank You, And R.I.P Our Friend

Gettyimages | Astrid Stawiarz

Most fans agreed Mr. Spinney brought so much love and joy into the homes of so many families, "He brought so much joy to me and my family over the years and I know that’s true for countless others everywhere. Rest In Peace and heartfelt thanks, Mr. Spinney," a person tweeted.

Another tweeted, "Caroll has really been a huge part of my childhood. He has made my day in every imaginable way, whether he was under the feathers or inside the trash can. He has and always will be an idol."


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