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'Sesame Street' puppeteer Caroll Spinney, voice of Big Bird, dies at age 85

He performed and voiced Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from their inception in 1969.
Credit: Michele Eve Sandberg/Invision/AP
Caroll Spinney with 'Big Bird' during Florida Supercon at the Broward County Convention Center on Friday, July 13, 2018, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

LOS ANGELES — The Sesame Workshop says Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on “Sesame Street,” died Sunday at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut. 

The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that the legendary puppeteer lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions. 

Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets from their inception in 1969 when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids’ television show that later moved to HBO.

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