Caroll Spinney died yesterday, December 8, 2019, at the age of 85. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you know the characters he played for 49 years: Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. He only retired last year (just before hitting the 50th season) when the honestly physically taxing full-bodied puppeteering he was doing became too much. He dedicated his life to bringing the world these beloved characters.
The Sesame Workshop has posted a lovely obituary/tribute on its site. It’s worth a read.
And if you have a little more time, and you haven’t seen it before (or even if you have), definitely check out Spinney’s biographical documentary, I Am Big Bird, available to stream on Amazon Prime. It’s touching, funny, and at at least one point utterly horrifying. Even my non-Sesame-geek husband found himself fascinated when I put it on.