The Henson family wrote of the Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch puppeteer, whom Jim Henson personally recruited to Sesame Street: “It was a moment of creative destiny when Caroll Spinney met Jim Henson. The gentle performer who would bring to life two of the most beloved residents of Sesame Street could perfectly convey the humor and heart in our father’s creations. Big Bird was childlike, without being childish. And Oscar the Grouch reflected universal feelings we all share, no matter our age. Those of us privileged to work alongside him and call him friend saw first-hand that he cared so deeply about what these characters represented and how they could truly create change. Caroll’s decades-long commitment to bettering the lives of children all around the world is his true legacy. That he could do this work so brilliantly, responsibly, and with such infectious love and joy, is his gift to us all.” Gary Knell, who spent 22 years working with Spinney at Sesame Workshop and its predecessor, Children’s Television Workshop, added: "He would get into those costumes and become those characters. You could walk on the set and get yelled at by Oscar the Grouch. I never thought of it as Caroll Spinney yelling at me — it was always Oscar.” ALSO: Sesame Street cast wore yellow feathers Sunday night at the Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Spinney.