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Big Bird Muppeteer of almost 50 years, Caroll Spinney dead at 85

Big Bird Muppeteer of almost 50 years, Caroll Spinney dead at 85”

Carroll Spinney, who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for almost 50 years, has died.

Spinney was at his CT home after living with Dystonia for some time.

While Spinney's spirit endures through the Big Bird character, it hard not to see this as a twin loss as we mourn not only the man but also his unforgettable performance as the iconic Sesame Street puppets.

"Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades", read a statement on the organization's website.

Sesame Street was honoured in Washington over the weekend, during annual ceremonies at the Kennedy Center.

Spinney, who lived in Woodstock, Connecticut, retired from the show past year.

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"In school I was the smallest boy with big ears", said Spinney.

Spinney appeared in "The Muppet Movie", "The Great Muppet Caper", "Big Bird in China", and "Follow that Bird".

"Playing Big Bird is one of the most joyous things of my life", he said.

"Caroll Spinney's contributions to Sesame Street are countless".

Caroll Spinney speaks onstage at the premiere of "I Am Big Bird" during the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival.

He starred in thousands of "Sesame Street" episodes - more than any other cast member - and it was certainly no walk in the park controlling the 8-foot bird costume. He portrayed several characters including Kookie the Boxing Kangaroo and Mr. Lion, though he eventually left the show, winding up in Salt Lake City, performing at the fateful festival where he met Henson.

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