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Farewell, Caroll Spinney!

A look back at the man behind Big Bird, as he turns 82.

/ 11 PHOTOS
Caroll Spinney on the set of Sesame Street, portraying both Oscar the Grouch (voice only) and Big Bird

Famous address

Caroll Spinney joined "Sesame Street" in 1969.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Sesame Street

From the beginning

"Sesame Street" cast members pose on the set with some of the puppet characters in 1969, the year it premiered. Left to right: Will Lee, Matt Robinson, Bob McGrath and Loretta Long with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie, Bert and Oscar the Grouch.
Getty Images
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Caroll Spinney on the set of Sesame Street, portraying both Oscar the Grouch (voice only) and Big Bird

Peck on the beak

TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager gives Big Bird a quick kiss.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Caroll Spinney, Oscar The Grouch

Double duty

In addition to portraying Big Bird, Spinney voices Oscar the Grouch.
Reed Saxon / AP
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Caroll Spinney on the set of Sesame Street, portraying both Oscar the Grouch (voice only) and Big Bird

Trash talking

Spinney pays a visit to Oscar the Grouch's residence.
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Caroll Spinney

Behind the scenes

Before donning the 8-foot-tall costume, Spinney is equipped with a chest monitor and ear pieces so he can coordinate his movements. 

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Caroll Spinney on the set of Sesame Street, portraying both Oscar the Grouch (voice only) and Big Bird

Avid artist

Spinney sketched this piece as a baby gift for Jenna, when she was expecting her second child.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Caroll Spinney on the set of Sesame Street, portraying both Oscar the Grouch (voice only) and Big Bird

The original birdman

Spinney is seen walking around the set as half man, half bird.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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Caroll Spinney, Big Bird

By the book

Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany Jiao during a taping of Sesame Street in 2008.
AP
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Big bird

Comforting voice

Spinney, as Big Bird, sings "It's Not Easy Being Green" during the memorial service for Jim Henson in 1990.

AP
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Not-so-empty next

Big Bird, who is portrayed as a 6-year-old, hangs out in his colorful digs.

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