I'm deeply saddened to learn of the death of CAROLL SPINNEY, the amazing Muppeteer who brought to life BIG BIRD and OSCAR THE GROUCH. He died today at the age of 85. I first met him in the mid-eighties when I visited the set of the first "Muppet Christmas Special" in Toronto, during the time I worked for Jim Henson on the animated "Fraggle Rock." The following was posted on his Facebook page earlier today: 
"With extreme sadness and grief we share that Caroll Spinney passed away on Sunday, December 8th, from complications of Dystonia. He was at home surrounded by family, friends, and side-by-side with the love of his life, Debra Spinney.
As Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, Caroll powerfully connected with the lives of children through his magical joy, intense passions, and unique ways of seeing the world.
He created and performed with puppets from the time he could hold his hand up in the air. His extraordinary talents and love of puppetry grew, from crafting his own productions, to performing on the Bozo Show, and then being asked by Jim Henson to bring to life Caroll’s best known characters, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, who changed the world. Throughout his remarkable fifty years on Sesame Street, he not only brought learning and music to millions of children around the world, he became a friend.
Caroll was also an accomplished artist, creating art from large-scale paintings to intricate illustrations throughout his life.
His legacy will always be part of our history and culture, and his gifts will resonate with generations to come.
This isn’t goodbye forever, it’s just goodbye for now.
We request the respect of privacy during this time of grieving. At this time there is no more information available but if any news becomes available it will be communicated when arrangements are made.
The family asks that anyone wishing to honor his memory consider a donation to the Yellow Feather Fund at
Well wishes can also be received at:
Caroll Spinney
PO Box 18033
500 Regis Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15236


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