Caroll Spinney died today. He was 85. His death makes me awfully sad. He was the voice and puppeteer behind both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. I’ve been watching the two of them since before I knew there was any such thing as voice actors or puppeteers.
Like everyone my age, Sesame Street had a huge impact on me. I remember being really worried about Big Bird when he waited on the roof for Santa Claus and no one on Sesame Street could find him. I remember being tickled by the fact that everyone knew how nice Oscar was, except for Oscar.
When I did learn about voice actors and puppeteers, I was shocked to learn that Oscar and Big Bird were done by the same person. They just seemed so different from each other. It says a lot about Spinney that he was able to create two of the most important and iconic characters of my lifetime.
I found myself watching clips of Big Bird and Oscar online today. I can’t even explain how great they are. So, I just wanted to say a big, heartfelt thank you to Caroll Spinney. My life is better becaue of you.