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Friday, July 4 • 2:15pm - 3:00pm

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The Caroll Spinney Q&A! 

Caroll Spinney is a puppeteer, artist and animator most famous for playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

Caroll’s career has spanned 60 years. In 1955, he performed in the show Rascal Rabbit, and joined The Judy and Goggle Show in 1958 as the puppeteer of Goggle. Throughout the 1960s, he performed on Bozo’s Big Top, where he played Mr. Lion, and was also a commercial artist and animator. Caroll joined Jim Henson’s Puppeteer’s in 1969 after several encounters with Jim Henson between over the course of the decade. Spinney joined Sesame Street for the inaugural season in 1969 as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

Spinney has performed the Big Bird and Oscar characters in Australia, China, Japan, and across Europe. As Big Bird/Oscar, he has conducted orchestras across the US and Canada, including the Boston Pops, as well as visited the White House multiple times. He has provided the characters’ voices on dozens of albums. As Oscar, Spinney has written How to Be a Grouch, a Whitman Tell-A-Tale picture book. With J. Milligan, he wrote the 2003 book The Wisdom of Big Bird (and the Dark Genius of Oscar the Grouch): Lessons from a Life in Feathers.

Though Big Bird and Oscar are his main characters, Spinney has also performed as other characters. At one point, he created and performed Bruno the Trash Man, a full-bodied puppet representing a garbage carrier, who also carried Oscar’s trash can. Spinney has also performed as Granny Bird, Big Bird’s grandmother. Spinney was one of the original puppeteers of Elmo in the 1970’s.

Spinney has been honored with four Daytime Emmy Awards for his portrayals on the series and two Grammy Awards for his related recordings. Two of the recordings Spinney’s voice can be heard on have earned Gold Record status. For his body of work, Spinney has received both a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and the Library of Congress’ Living Legend award in 2000. At the 2006 Daytime Emmy Awards, Spinney received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award.



Friday July 4, 2014 2:15pm - 3:00pm EDT

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