The man behind the unmistakable characters of some of Sesame Street's favorite members passed away yesterday.
Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for over 50 years, died at age 85.
Coworkers described Spinney as having a "genuine niceness and sweetness and lovingness" synonymous with the characters he played, such as Big Bird.
Spinney played two of the show's core characters, and in an interview years ago, noted that he "loved playing Oscar. He has a power I never had. ... I can't believe that Jim gave me two such characters that have become iconic, and are a part of so many people in America growing up" (NPR).
The show has aired over 50 seasons, and has been around since the late 1960s, making it the longest-running children's television program in the United States. In his time with the show, Spinney received the Kennedy Center Honors for achievement in the arts, and was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, among other accolades.
The show, which played such a large role in the early childhood years of millions of Americans will miss one of its shining stars.