Big Bird is a protagonist of the children's television show Sesame Street. Big Bird, like many of the other Sesame Street characters, is a Muppet character. He is sometimes referred to simply as "Bird" by his friends.
Officially performed by Caroll Spinney since 1969, he is an eight-foot two-inch tall bright yellow bird. He can roller skate, ice skate, dance, sing, write poetry, draw and even ride a unicycle. But despite this wide array of talents, he is prone to frequent misunderstandings, on one occasion even singing the alphabet as one big long word (ABC-DEF-GHI), pondering what it could ever mean. He lives in a large nest behind the 123 Sesame Street brownstone (which he had to completely rebuild in Season 32 after it was destroyed by a hurricane) and he has a teddy bear named Radar, after Walter "Radar" O'Reilly of M*A*S*H, who had a teddy bear and was also lovably naive and innocent. Radar was given to Big Bird by Gary Burghoff when he guest starred on the show. Later on, however, it was said that Big Bird got the bear as a gift from Mr. Hooper.
As Muppet Caroll Spinney has aged, the show has gradually started to train new performers to play Big Bird. These apprentices include both Rick Lyon in the opening theme song of the show's 33rd season on, and Matt Vogel in the show's Journey to Ernie segment.
Caroll Spinney was sick during the taping of a few first-season episodes, so Daniel Seagren performed Big Bird in those episodes. He also performed Big Bird when he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969 and on The Hollywood Squares in the 1970s. According to The Story of Jim Henson by Stephanie St. Pierre, the costume was built for Jim Henson to perform, but when Jim Henson tried it on, Kermit Love, who had built the costume, did not think that Jim Henson was walking like a bird is supposed to walk, and Jim decided not to perform Big Bird. Frank Oz was offered the part, but since he hated performing full-body characters, he turned down the job.
Read more about Big Bird at Wikipedia ...
Official Site: Sesame Workshop, formerly CTW
Links: Wikipedia Entry PBS Kids Sesame Street Page IMDB Entry: Follow That Bird