It looks like Carroll Spinney is playing both ends in this vintage photograph! But you can hardly blame him for not completely changing between scenes when he had to play two roles. Spinney played both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street for years. At age 84, he is only semi-retired now. He started puppeteering when he was only eight years old, and after years of professional work, almost missed the chance to become a Muppeteer.
Spinney first met Jim Henson in 1962 at a puppeteering festival, where Henson asked if he would like to "talk about the Muppets". As Spinney failed to realize the question was an employment offer, the conversation never came to pass.
In 1969, Spinney performed at a Puppeteers of America festival in Utah. His show was a mixture of live actors and puppets but was ruined by an errant spotlight that washed out the animated backgrounds. Henson was once again in attendance and noticed Spinney's performance. "I liked what you were trying to do," Henson said, and he asked once more if they could "talk about the Muppets". This time, they did have the conversation, and Spinney joined the Muppeteers full-time by late 1969.
-via Wil Wheaton
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