Caroll Spinney

Big Bird has captivated children around the world for almost 50 years. A puppeteer since he was eight years old, Caroll Spinney has been the man inside the bird from the beginning. Also playing Oscar the Grouch, his characters have been seen on more than 3,900 shows in 148 countries.

Jim Henson, who was working to develop characters for a new educational children’s television show, saw Spinney perform a combined puppetry and animation show at the Puppeteers of America Festival in Salt Lake City in 1969. Henson persuaded Spinney to come to New York to join the cast of Sesame Street, which premiered later that year.

Spinney is the author of The Wisdom of Big Bird (And the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers, an inspirational memoir in which he shares the wisdom that he has gleaned over the years from his work creating and portraying one of the world’s most beloved characters.

Spinney has earned four Emmy Awards, two Gold Records, and two Grammy Awards.
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