Caroll Spinney has been the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since Sesame Street’s premiere episode on November 10, 1969. He loves working on “the Street.” Big Bird hit the road to China with Bob Hope in 1979, and has since danced with the Rockettes and prima ballerina, Cynthia Gregory. Sesame Street specials have taken Spinney to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom. He has performed on various television shows, including 146 episodes of Hollywood Squares. Spinney also conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia and Canada. En route, Big Bird has been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp and as Big Bird, Spinney was named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Spinney enjoys being a lecturer and has earned four honorary doctorates. He is also an accomplished author and artist, and co-authored and illustrated his autobiography, The Wisdom of Big Bird. Spinney takes great pride in his 2006 Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award, his five Emmys, two Gold Records and two Grammy honors. He is the 2003 recipient of the “Legacy for Children Award” and The Christopher’s James Keller Award in 2004. Spinney starred in the much-loved feature film, Follow That Bird and his life and career will be documented in the upcoming film I Am Big Bird.
Spinney and his wife, Debra, have been together for thirty-nine years; they have three children and four grandchildren.