Jarrod Fairclough – In sad, but understandable news, The New York Times have confirmed that Caroll Spinney, performer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 50 years, will be retiring tomorrow.
According to the article, which you can read in full here:
This Thursday, as he so often has, Spinney, 84, plans to travel to the studios in Astoria, Queens, where “Sesame Street” is produced, and record some voices for his colorful alter egos.
Then he will retire from the program: His roles will be passed on to new performers and his remarkable half-century run, in which he has embodied two of the most beloved characters on television, will come to an end.
This is understandable considering Caroll is almost 85 years old, and has been unable to puppeteer for the past couple of years, instead providing vocal tracks in recent episodes. In the article he explains that the physical requirements of playing these characters were now too difficult, and that he has developed a problem with his balance.
Matt Vogel will continue his role as Big Bird, while Eric Jacobson will continue playing Oscar.
But, never fear, as Caroll has vowed to continue being a Muppet ambassador as cons and other events, so we haven’t seen the last of him!
Stay tuned to The Muppet Mindset next week as we kick off a celebration of the career of Caroll Spinney.