As tributes poured in from around the world for Caroll Spinney, the man who brought Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch alive for nearly 50 years and who died on Sunday, one Bangor resident recalled his very personal connection to the beloved puppeteer.
Local historian and former Bangor Daily News writer and editorial page assistant Dick Shaw met Spinney in 1980, while writing a profile of him for the BDN ahead of Spinney’s performance as Big Bird with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Shaw met Spinney after the concert, and the two hit it off, especially when Shaw learned of Spinney’s deep connection to Maine.
“Caroll’s father and grandfather both grew up in Eastport, and he still has relatives that live there,” Shaw said. “I think he was a kind of honorary Mainer, even though he himself didn’t actually grow up in Maine.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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