Back to The Men Behind the Muppets
Spinney got his start as a cartoonist and puppeteer on Boston public television. He attempted an innovative live show combining puppetry and film projection at the Puppeteers of America Festival in Salt Lake City, but it was marred by technical difficulties. Nevertheless, Jim Henson who was sitting in the audience recognized his attempts and asked him to join his new children's television program: 'Sesame Street.' He then became the man behind two of the most famous Muppet creations: Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.
Spinney performs both parts to this day. Since taking on the iconic characters, he's won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards for Children's Programming, and even received a Lifetime Achievement Award. He's earned two Grammys for Children's Recordings, the Library of Congress Living Legend Award and helped honor Big Bird with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Fans might be surprised to know that he was the one who suggested to Henson that conversations between the Muppets and children should be unscripted.
'The Muppet Movie': Big Bird
'The Great Muppet Caper': Oscar the Grouch
'The Muppets Take Manhattan': Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
'Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird': Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch
'The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland': Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch