Big Bird is retiring from "Sesame Street"

Or, at least the original one is. Carroll Spinney is 84 years old, and he also voiced Oscar the Grouch.

A wonderful documentary was made about him a few years ago. Have a box of Kleenex ready when Big Bird shows up at Jim Henson’s funeral.

Spinney was Big Bird from the beginning of Sesame Street. What a run!

It won’t be the same without him.

I wish him the best in retirement. Hopefully, he has a pretty big nest egg.

Hopefully he didn’t invest in any shell companies.

They’re not all they’re cracked up to be.

This is a sad occasion, I don’t think it is appropriate to be making yolks.

Indeed! And Oscar the Grouch, don’t forget.

The thread title isn’t technically accurate. It’s not that Big Bird is retiring from Sesame Street; it’s that Spinney is retiring from Big Bird.

And at 84, he’s entitled to; but it’s still the End Of An Era.

Personally, I’m impressed that he’s been able to keep doing it for this long. Even in my prime of life, I’d have found it tiring to go around with my arm raised straight up for hours at a time. Or have they changed the design of the suit so that’s no longer needed?

Did Spinney get an allergy to feathers?


Congrats for a wonderful and long career on Sesame Street.

Not sure, but he’s had an apprentice/understudy for a while now, and has only been doing the voices for the last couple of years.

I’d just assumed Big Bird had gotten into the Wild Turkey.

OK, so he was still inside the suit at age 81. That’s still very impressive.

I just clicked in to make sure this wasn’t a #MeToo story.

I just got done playing Big Bird…
and boy is my arm tired

Surely he had some sort of arm support or brace inside that suit to help him hold one arm in the air for long periods of time.

Perhaps. But the Muppet Wiki doesn’t show anything like that.

There’s also a bit of detail here:

Wait, am I reading that right that he wasn’t even actually seeing out of the suit, but just seeing a feed of the camera’s point of view? That must take a lot of training to be able to pull that off.

Big Bird doesn’t move about a whole lot - usually only walking a short distance in a relatively straight line, so it wouldn’t really be that different for Spinney (or Matt Vogel, who’s been running the puppet at least part of the time since 1997) than it is for the performers who sit behind walls or under floors… Memorize his route with the head off, then watch the monitor mostly to be sure he knows where the other performers and props are, just like the other muppeteers.