Caroll Spinney

Caroll Spinney

85 (passed away Dec. 8th, 2019)
Dec. 26th, 1933
Born in
Waltham, Massachusetts, USA
5' 9½"

Caroll Spinney's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Sesame Street TV Show
Sesame Street

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Spinney was best known for his voice and puppeteering work with the characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, from the series' 1969 premiere until 2018. Spinney announced his retirement from Sesame Street last year after almost 50 years of working with the children's program. At the time, he said of his work, "Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul."
He also brought the characters to screen in several companion films and series, including The Muppet Movie, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, to name a few. He even brought Oscar and Big Bird to other pieces of pop culture, including The Electric Company, Scrubs, The West Wing, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
Caroll Spinney died at home in Connecticut on Dec. 8, 2019. He was 85 and had been living with dystonia, an incurable neurological movement disorder, for some time.

  • He made an appearance as Big Bird on an episode of _"MisteRogers' Neighborhood" (1968)_ (qv). Before the show was taped, 'Fred Rogers (I)' (qv) wanted to have him remove the Big Bird outfit on the show and discuss the inner workings of it. Spinney objected to this idea, saying that it was important to preserve the sense of wonder and magic that children have about Big Bird. Rogers agreed that Spinney was right, and, instead, Big Bird appeared on the show in a Neighborhood of Make-Believe segment.
  • Under the name Ed Spinney, Caroll Spinney animated a series of black and white cartoons called "Crazy Crayon".
  • Was the commencement speaker at Villanova University, in 2004.

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