LOS ANGELES (AP) – Ironically the day “Sesame Street” received its Kennedy Center Honor, the man who gave voice to two of the most popular characters on the children’s TV series died.

The Sesame Workshop says Caroll Spinney died yesterday at his home in Connecticut at age 85.

Spinney voiced and operated both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from the time they were created in 1969 – and continued to do them almost exclusively until his 80s.

Spinney said before joining Sesame Street, he didn’t feel like what he was doing in life was important. But he said, “Big Bird helped me find my purpose.”

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