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Caroll Spinney (1933–2019), Sesame Street's beloved Big Bird

Getty Images / Andy Kropa / Laura Cavanaugh

He played the giant character ever since the show's 1969 premiere

Caroll Spinney was the performer who played the beloved Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on the children’s public television show "Sesame Street" for half a century since its debut in 1969.

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Died: Sunday, December 8, 2019 (Who else died on December 8?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 85.

What they said about him"I had the privilege to spend time with Spinney last year when he announced his retirement from Sesame Street. He said the secret to portraying Big Bird was to play him like a child. ‘He can be all the things that children are. He can learn with the kids.’” —Dave Itzkoff, author and New York Times reporter

“The phrase 'don’t meet your heroes' falls apart when talking about Caroll Spinney. He was one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting…” —Katie Cook, cartoonist

“No one plays a character for 50 years without showing his own heart. Goodbye, Caroll. It was nice knowing you.” —Anthony Breznican, author and journalist

Full ObituaryThe New York Times

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