They were two of the most famous voices on TV.
But this day two years ago signalled the end of an era, as the man behind Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch graced Sesame Street for the very last time.
After almost half a century Caroll Spinney, who played both beloved characters since the show started in 1969, retired from the show. The puppeteer was the heart and soul of some of the show’s most iconic characters but as he reached 84, he said that the physical requirements had become more and more difficult.
Starting in 2015, he transitioned out of the Big Bird suit after developing a balance problem in the costume. Stepping into his shoes to take over the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch were longtime puppeteers Matt Vogel, who also plays Kermit the Frog, and Eric Jacobson, who performs as Miss Piggy.
As he prepared to enter the studios for the last time, Spinney said: “Before I came to Sesame Street I didn’t feel what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my purpose. Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird. And even Oscar, once in a while!
“They have given me great joy, led me to my true calling – and my wonderful wife – and created a lifetime of memories that I will cherish forever.”
Sadly, Spinney passed away, aged 85, in December last year.
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