Caroll Spinney is retiring from "Sesame Street". He has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show's 1969 debut. He will act as an ambassador for Sesame Workshop from now on.
We knew it was coming at some point, but it's officially official: Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind the beloved “Sesame Street” characters Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch, is moving out of "Sesame Street." For those who don't know, he’s been playing the two since the show’s debut in 1969, and after his final episode today, he will be passing the torch to new actors.
In a statement, Spinney says that “Sesame Street” gave him purpose – not to mention, he met his longtime wife, Debra, on set in 1973. Spinney also reveals that despite his exit, he plans to act as an ambassador for his Sesame Workshop family “for many years to come.” So it goes without saying that even as he departs the role, Big Bird will always be a big part of him.
“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” he offers. “But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.” You can read his full statement HERE.