Puppeteer Who Played Big Bird on 'Sesame Street' Retiring - NBC Chicago

Puppeteer Who Played Big Bird on 'Sesame Street' Retiring

The physical requirements of performing the characters had become difficult for Caroll Spinney

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    Puppeteer Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street co-founder and TV producer Joan Ganz Cooney, and Sesame Street cast members pose under a "123 Sesame Street" sign at the "Sesame Street" 40th Anniversary temporary street renaming in Dante Park on November 9, 2009 in New York City.

    The Connecticut-based puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show. 

    Caroll Spinney, of Woodstock, Connecticut, told the New York Times that Thursday will be his last day on the program, which he joined from the start in 1969. In addition to Big Bird, the 84-year-old was also Oscar the Grouch.  

    Spinney said, “I always thought, how fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?” 

    Spinney said the physical requirements of performing the characters had become difficult and he developed problems with his balance. He stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and now only provides the voices for him and Oscar. 

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    His apprentice, Matt Vogel, will succeed him in the Big Bird role. He also plays Kermit the Frog. 

    “I Am Big Bird,” a documentary about Spinney was released a few years ago.