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Remembering Caroll Spinney (December 26, 1933-December 8, 2019)


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2017
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Had to log back in just to pay my respects.

I'm unbelievably devastated by this news. I knew it was going to happen eventually, but it still breaks my heart. I'm glad he lived such a long life and was able to contribute to Sesame Street for so many years.

I'll always have great memories of watching Sesame and Follow that Bird, and hearing his voice and seeing how he brought so much life to Big Bird and Oscar. Both Bird and Oscar have always been two of my favorite characters, I love them so much. Follow that Bird in particular is a special movie to me, it was a huge childhood favorite and I still adore it. Sometimes I watch it when I'm sad and it makes me happier. Watching it now just won't be the same now that Carroll's gone...

RIP Caroll Spinney. Thank you so much for all the memories and for being such a big part of my childhood. :wisdom: :grouchy: 💕


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2012
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I may have been the only 1 in my family to recognize Caroll in SS 50th, but they enjoyed it in each way, like how my youngest sis said surprisedly, "Big Bird! You -- bezazzled the sign!"

:wisdom: & Snuffy BFFS


May 26, 2019
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This is so sad. Big bird and Oscar have been the staples of my life for idk how long. This was bound to come one day or another, just didn’t think so soon after his retirement. Wish he couldve enjoyed it a bit longer.
The good thing is that he doesn’t have to suffer from Dystonia anymore. I hear that it’s painful. Also, I hope that he is with all of the other muppet performers that have passed, along with Mr. Hooper.
RIP, Caroll


Active Member
Sep 25, 2017
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I know it was going to happen eventually, but I'm still very heartbroken to hear the news of his passing. At least he's reunited with Jim Henson, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt and a few others involved with Sesame Street that passed before he did.

We will miss you Caroll Spinney. Rest in peace. :cry:


Well-Known Member
Nov 11, 2005
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I have no words to express my sadness that I am feeling. A true legend of modern day children entertainment has left a legacy worthy of 50 years. I'm too choked up and heartbroken to even put a post together. I have always admire Oscar the Grouch growing up and how Caroll brought him to life with such vigor and grouchiness.

I just...thank you Mr. Spinney...Just thank you. :grouchy: 😢


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2007
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Logging in for the first time in years to pay my respects...

It's no secret that Caroll was a key component to Sesame Street's success. In more ways than one he was the heart and soul of the show. One of my earliest childhood memories was distinctly being enamored with Big Bird in particular when watching the show as a kid. Like a lot of you guys have been saying, he was in some ways my first best friend. I remember when I was a little older and started learning about the puppeteers themselves, I found it so fascinating Caroll was both Big Bird AND Oscar. When I got older than that, I always appreciated the two characters as being the integral parts of Sesame's legacy. Caroll was not necessarily the best actor, but when he got those two characters, he shined brighter than any light could.

About a year after Caroll's book came out, I got a camcorder recording of a Q&A he did at a bookstore in San Francisco in a tape trade. This was my first time really seeing video of this fascinating man. I knew I had to meet him someday. That moment finally came a decade later, when I met him at an I Am Big Bird screening. I subsequently got to hang out with him in small intervals during two additional screenings of the film in a year's span. Let me tell you all Caroll was a class act. He was a man who listens to you, took the time to pay attention to what you had to say, would stop and take a picture or an autograph with anyone. I remember the last time I saw him telling him "I brought something I wanted you to sign, but if more people want their stuff signed give them priority." Caroll insisted "I'll sign anything you want me to, no worries." That's the kind of guy he was. He didn't care who you were, if you loved Big Bird, he loved you back. Even as Deb would get a tad impatient with him, Caroll was always a guy who showed genuine care for everyone. Those people are incredibly hard to find.

It was painful watching him these last few years, to see a man who once spent his life in a yellow bird suit full of energy (even then, let's be blunt here - Big Bird could lag a bit during the last few years Caroll was in-costume) confined to a wheelchair with his muscles locking him down. I wanted to go to at least one convention and meet him one last time, but life just never worked out in a con's favor. It would have been a very bittersweet experience.

I like to think the elderly tend to try and keep themselves alive for certain events they think they can live for. Caroll struck me as the type of person who was keeping himself alive to ensure he was around to see Sesame Street hit 50. Now that the PR for that anniversary is dying down, Caroll didn't need to keep himself in that state of mind anymore. I really thought he'd last a teeny bit longer, but better he go than keep suffering for six more months.

If there's any solace to all of this, we can all say no one had a better life than Caroll. Getting to play two iconic pop culture icons pretty much non-stop for half a century is nothing to snuff at. Very few people achieve that. Not only that, but he got to play two iconic pop culture icons many people on this earth saw early in life and grew to love. Sure, Mel Blanc voiced Looney Tunes characters for likely a longer time frame but there's something special about Sesame being among the first things a person might be as a child then Caroll still being a stablemate for so long there. Everyone in some capacity knew him, everyone in some capacity loved him. Could you really ask for anything more?

Caroll will be missed, I will miss him dearly even if he's someone who I wasn't really friends with and only met a few times, but he made me feel like a friend. Whether he was in a bird suit, a trash can or just plain old Caroll. Here's to you, Caroll.


Well-Known Member
May 6, 2016
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I remember the very first Sesame episode, watching on my parents' old black and white tv. Like millions of other kids after me, the Street was a special place to be, and Caroll had a huge part in making it that way.
Over the years I was blessed to meet a number of Sesame people, including Carroll twice. You can't find a more dear sweet man.
The last time I saw him, for a screening of "I Am Big Bird", he had Oscar with him. During the questions and answers that came after, I was in the front row, and Oscar's eyes were zeroed in on me.
Afterward I got to meet him and Oscar.
Oscar was his usual warm self.
"Hey, Shaggy! You need a haircut!"
Me:"Oscar, I was around when you were orange."
Oscar's eyes get real big: "Man, you're OLD!!!"
Got several autographs and a hug from Carroll.

Thank you Carroll. You gave me 50 years of Sunny Days.
Wow, it's amazing you can remember an episode when you were only 1-2 years old.