Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer and voice actor behind Sesame Street greats Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, will retire from the show after 50 years of embodying these characters.
Sesame Street announced Spinney’s retirement on Wednesday morning, leading to an influx of well-wishes and goodbyes from generations of Americans – all of whom grew up with Spinney’s characters over the past five decades. Puppeteers Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobsen will take over.
Long-time puppeteer Caroll Spinney has announced that he is stepping down from the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Spinney is pleased that his iconic roles will be carried on by puppeteers Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson. Learn more: https://t.co/BALgkIPI5q pic.twitter.com/sGMDjqLklQ
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) October 17, 2018
The announcement was accompanied by a New York Times profile of Spinney, full of nostalgia for his career and characters and inspiring many to tweet their feelings about his legacy.
I always dug Big Bird’s big eyes and slow methodic speech. Caroll Spinney created a character I could trust and, as an autistic child, connect with.
I will always remeber this man who—having never met me—implanted himself in my psyche and gave my tendrils scaffolding to grow.
— Jenny V #PunchNazis (@JennyVSimile) October 17, 2018
There is a lot of bittersweet in my soul right now.
I first set foot on the “Sesame Street” set 25 years ago.
We started shooting Season 50 on Monday.
Caroll Spinney’s retirement celebration is tomorrow.
Also, the world.
So this is all you’ll be hearing from me this week.
— Stephanie D’Abruzzo (@DAbruzzoTweets) October 17, 2018
Thank you so much Caroll Spinney. Big Bird taught me to always be kind and Oscar taught me that just because someone is grouchy does not mean they are unworthy of friendship. Your work meant everything to millions of children. https://t.co/k86FysBuwz
— Harry Swartout (@HarrySwartout) October 17, 2018
Thank you #CarollSpinney for making the world a better place, for impacting so many lives with your vision, imagination & brilliance. Thank you for making #BigBird & Sesame Street what they are today. & thank you, #JimHenson for seeing the potential in this amazing person.
— Amy Moe (@amymoe35) October 17, 2018
Let’s all take a moment to salute Caroll Spinney, who, in the role of Oscar the Grouch, became the first trash-talker on daytime TV.
— (((Mark Campbell))) (@MrWordsWorth) October 17, 2018