Carroll Spinney is now 84 years old and he began to voice these characters at age 34, in 1969, after being recruited by Jim Henson himself. Here is a picture from that time:
(Photo by Children’s Television Workshop/Courtesy Getty Images)
He quit puppeteering for Big Bird and Oscar a few years ago, but continued to do the voices. After this coming Thursday, that too will end.
The show’s producers have no idea how many episodes of Sesame Street he’s been in, but they put him in the thousands. “Playing Big Bird is one of the happiest things in my life.”
(Photo by Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images for AWXII)
The Big Bird character started out as a “funny, silly country yokel”. But he disagreed with this approach.
“I said, ‘I think I should play him like he was a kid, a substitute,'” he recalled. “He can be anything kids are. He can learn with children. It was a brilliant decision.
Spinney’s Big Bird character has since been referred to as the “tender, nurturing soul of the show”.
in 2014 a feature film about Spinney and the characters he played in Sesame Street was made. Here is the full movie trailer:
I Am Big Bird Official Trailer (2014) – Caroll Spinney, Sesame Street Documentary HD