This week, one of the bastions of my childhood chose to retire. Caroll Spinney, the Muppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for much of the past 50 years on the show Sesame Street, filmed his final scene yesterday.
I have been fortunate to have chatted with Caroll a number of times right here in my town of Burbank, California. He told me that when he was a young man, his aspirations were to be an animator, and even applied to Walt Disney’s studio. He said Walt offered him a job, but not very much pay, so Carroll turned ol’ Walt down. Not long after, he got into puppetry which led to meeting Jim Henson, and the rest is history.
Caroll still enjoys drawing, and I am proud to have five pieces of his in my collection, this one being my favorite. My very best to Mr. Spinney and his wife, Debra. Thank you so much for filling my childhood mind with wonder, and broadening my imagination.
Be sure to seek out the wonderful documentary I Am Big Bird to learn about Caroll Spinney’s fascinating life.