Big Bird Puppeteer Since 1969 Has No Plans to Retire

In 1962, Jim Henson and Carroll Spinney met at a Puppeteering convention when Henson propositioned Spinney about joining the Muppets. It wasn’t until late 1969 that Mr. Carroll Spinney donned the world famous huge yellow bird costume for the first time as Big Bird on Sesame Street. Once again, in 1969, Spinney attended the Puppeteering convention where Jim Henson was also in attendance. This time, Carroll Edwin Spinney was eager to take the Muppet creator up on his offer. The puppeteer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch have no plans to retire soon set producer Susan McGalla confirmed (more at Forbes).

Carroll Edwin Spinney was born in Waltham, Massachusetts on December 26, 1933. His love for puppets began when his mother used to take him to see Punch and Judy shows. In 1955, he began his career as a puppeteer, appearing in such puppet shows as Rascal Rabbit, the Judy and Goggle Show, and Bozos Big Top.

When Jim Henson created Big Bird, the yellow feathery creature was goofy until it was decided that he would serve a better purpose helping children learn. Big Bird learned how to read, recite the alphabet, and count with the children. Big Bird will always be 6. At the same time, Spinney needed to play a darker character in addition to Big Bird. Spinney also played Oscar the Grouch, a green mop-like character who lives in a trash can and has a nasty attitude.