Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Big Bird puppeteer retiring from ‘Sesame Street’ after almost 50 years

Big Bird puppeteer retiring from ‘Sesame Street’ after almost 50 years

Oscar the Grouch will be performed by Eric Jacobson, who also performs Grover, Bert, and Guy Smiley for Sesame Street, and Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy for the Muppets.

Spinney's five decades portraying the beloved characters left him in the shadows, even as Big Bird and Oscar became famous worldwide.

Jeffrey Dunn, president of Sesame Workshop, said Spinney's work over the past half century has been a gift to the world.

A few years ago, Spinney stopped doing the puppeteering of Big Bird, The New York Times notes, but continued to voice him and Oscar. "I said, 'I think Big Bird might be more useful to the show if he were a child learning all the things we were teaching in the show.' And so he didn't know the alphabet, even, for instance".

Spinney's wife, Deb, said he's much more like Big Bird than Oscar, who, according to Spinney, was inspired by a grouchy waiter at an old seafood restaurant in Manhattan and the voice from a New York City cabbie who once gave Spinney a lift.

Israeli fire wounds 32 Palestinians in Gaza beach protest
On Wednesday morning the Code Red alarm sounded again in the region close to the northern Gaza border. Families crowded into a nearby hospital where the dead man's mother collapsed over his body.

Zainab's murderer, rapist Imran hanged in Lahore
The government of the time, under public pressure, promised tough action in terms of police training and legislation. Mohammad Imran was hanged in the presence of Zainab's father. .

Billy, Mako Vunipola both injured in Saracens win over Glasgow
Former Wallabies coach Jones names his squad for the November internationals to be played at Twickenham on Thursday. He will have an operation tomorrow and is expected to be out of action for three months.

One of Sesame Street's most familiar faces is leaving the neighborhood.

"I always thought: 'How fortunate for me that I got to play the two best muppets?'" he told the New York Times. "They have given me great joy, led me to my true calling and created a lifetime of memories that I will cherish forever". He also served in the United States Air Force, but he said that Sesame Street's positive message to its young audience made him feel like he was really fulfilling a goal in life. With his retirement, Big Bird will be performed by Matt Vogel, who has been an apprentice in the role since 1996, and who is already behind the strings of Kermit the Frog and Count von Count.

Spinney makes his last appearance as Big Bird and the Grouch in the 50th anniversary season, set to air on HBO, which now holds the rights to the series, and PBS in 2020.

His life and career have been documented in the widely-acclaimed 2014 film, I Am Big Bird.

Like this: