In this April 10, 2008, file photo Lynn Finkel, stage manager for "Sesame Street" slates a taping with Big Bird in New York.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Puppeteer who played Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch on 'Sesame Street' retiring

"I always thought, how fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?"

October 17, 2018 - 1:20 pm
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WOODSTOCK, Conn. (AP) — The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on "Sesame Street" is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Caroll Spinney tells the New York Times that Thursday will be his last day on the program, which he joined from the start in 1969. In addition to Big Bird, the 84-year-old was also Oscar the Grouch.

Spinney says "I always thought, how fortunate for me that I got to play the two best Muppets?"

In this April 10, 2008, file photo puppeteer Caroll Spinney is interviewed during a break from taping an episode of "Sesame Street" in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Spinney says the physical requirements of performing the characters had become difficult and he developed problems with his balance. He stopped doing the puppeteering for Big Bird in 2015 and now only provides the voices for him and Oscar.

His apprentice, Matt Vogel, will succeed him in the Big Bird role. He also plays Kermit the Frog.

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