Puppeteer Caroll Spinney brought beloved "Sesame Street" characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life. CNN reports Spinney died at his Connecticut home on Sunday. He was 85. He passed away after a long battle with dystonia, a movement disorder. He not only gave us Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, he gave so much of himself as well. Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979.