Caroll Spinney Wiki Bio/ Caroll Edwin Spinney Wiki Bio
Caroll Spinney Full Name Caroll Edwin Spinney (December 26, 1933 – December 8, 2019) was an American puppeteer, cartoonist, author and speaker most famous for playing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street from its inception in 1969 until 2018.Edwin
BREAKING: Caroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer behind beloved Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, has died at age 85, the Sesame Street Workshop said. https://t.co/Ox9tgJ2W9C pic.twitter.com/FZxmXMJZX2
— ABC News (@ABC) December 8, 2019
Caroll Spinney Early life
Caroll Edwin Spinney was born in Waltham, Massachusetts, on December 26, 1933. His mother, a native of Bolton, England, named him Caroll because he was born the day after Christmas. He has been drawing and painting since he was a child. He developed a love of puppeteering when he saw a performance of Three Little Kittens at the age of five. This motivated him to purchase a monkey puppet from a rummage sale three years later and put on a puppet show utilizing the monkey and a plush snake. The following Christmas, his mother gifted him with a Punch and Judy puppet theater. He continued puppeteering throughout his childhood and adolescence and used his performances to raise money for college tuition.
Caroll Spinney Edwin Education
After he graduated from Acton High School (subsequently Acton-Boxborough Regional High School) in Acton, Massachusetts, Spinney served in the US Air Force.
Caroll Spinney Career
Comics and cartoons
While in the Air Force, Spinney wrote and illustrated Harvey, a comic strip about military life. He also animated a series of black-and-white cartoons called Crazy Crayon.
Caroll Spinney Edwin Early puppeteering
In 1955, Spinney relocated to Las Vegas, where he performed in the show Rascal Rabbit. He returned to Boston, joining The Judy and Goggle Show in 1958 as a puppeteer “Goggle” to Judy Valentine’s Judy. Throughout the 1960s, he performed on the Boston broadcast of Bozo’s Big Top, where he played various costumed characters which included Kookie the Boxing Kangaroo as well as Mr. Lion, who created cartoon drawings from the names of children participating in the show. Through that decade, he was also a commercial artist and animator.
Spinney created a puppet duo consisting of two cats named Picklepuss and Pop, which he utilized throughout the 1960s. Many years later, Spinney’s Picklepuss and Pop puppets were characters in Wow, You’re a Cartoonist!
As a Sesame Street Muppeteer
Spinney with Oscar the Grouch, May 2014
Spinney at the New York Comic Con in Manhattan in October 2010
Spinney first met Jim Henson in 1962 at a puppeteering festival, where Henson asked if he would like to “talk about the Muppets”. As Spinney failed to realize the question was an employment offer, the conversation never came to pass.
In 1969, Spinney performed at a Puppeteers of America festival in Utah. His show was a mixture of live actors and puppets but was ruined by an errant spotlight that washed out the animated backgrounds. Henson was once again in attendance and noticed Spinney’s performance. “I liked what you were trying to do,” Henson said, and he asked once more if they could “talk about the Muppets”. This time, they did have the conversation, and Spinney joined the Muppeteers full-time by late 1969.
Caroll Spinney Edwin Artwork
Some of his artworks include the 1996 painting called Luna Bird showing Big Bird walking on the moon and the 1997 painting Autumn, showing him playing in autumn leaves. Spinney also drew the iconic drawing of Mr. Hooper that sits near Big Bird’s nest after his death.
Caroll Spinney Wife Family and Children
Spinney had three children from his first marriage to Janice Spinney, whom he married in 1960, and has four grandchildren. Spinney and Janice divorced in 1971 after eleven years of marriage. Spinney was married to his second wife, Debra Jean Gilroy, from 1979 until his death. Spinney died at his home in Connecticut on December 8, 2019, at age 85. Before his death, Spinney lived with dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes muscle contractions.