The man who has played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since “Sesame Street” debuted in 1969 is retiring this week, Sesame Workshop said Wednesday in a news release.
Caroll Spinney, 84, will perform his roles for the final time Thursday. The puppeteer’s roles will be taken by Matt Vogel, who will perform as Big Bird; and Eric Jacobson, who will play Oscar. Spinney has mentored both men for more than 20 years.
“Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind and nurtured my soul,” said Spinney said in a statement. “And I plan to be an ambassador for Sesame Workshop for many years to come. After all, we’re a family! But now it’s time for two performers that I have worked with and respected – and actually hand-picked for the guardianship of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch – to take my alter-egos into their hands and continue to give them life.”
During his 49 years on “Sesame Street,” Spinney appeared on “thousands” of the more than 4,400 episodes of the children’s show, a Sesame Workshop spokesman told the The New York Times.
As Big Bird, Spinney has traveled around the world, visiting China with comedian Bob Hope. He has also performed in the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, Canada and Australia. Big Bird has danced with the Rockettes and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The character also has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp and was named a Living Legend in 2000 by the Library of Congress.
“Since 1969, Caroll’s kind and loving view of the world has helped shape and define this institution,” Jeffrey D. Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Throughout his unparalleled career, Caroll Spinney gave something truly special to the world. With deepest admiration, Sesame Workshop is proud to carry his legacy – and his beloved characters – into the future.”
In October 2012, The Atlantic reported that Spinney made about $314,000 a year in his roles on “Sesame Street.” From a personal standpoint, Spinney met his wife, Debra, on the show’s set in 1973, Sesame Workshop said in its statement. They have been married 45 years, the New York Post reported.
“Before I came to Sesame Street, I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my purpose,” Spinney said in a statement. “Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird.”
Spinney had to stop puppeteering as Big Bird in 2015 due to problems with his balance, the Times reported. Since then he has limited his roles to voices for Big Bird and Oscar.
His final recordings will be aired on “Sesame Street’s” 50th anniversary in 2020 on PBS, the newspaper reported. Spinney said he will remain a “Sesame Street” ambassador.
“I’ll be 100 years old, doing Muppet stuff,” Spinney told the Times.
Members of a Thai boys soccer team, which captivated the world when they were rescued from a waterlogged cave in July, were interviewed Monday by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
The 12 boys were dressed in their “Wild Boars” jerseys as they spoke through an interpreter with DeGeneres on her show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The team was evacuated from the submerged network of caves on July 10 in a carefully orchestrated procedure by international cave diving experts, CNN reported. They had been trapped in the cave since June 23.
While being interviewed about their tense ordeal, the boys received soccer jerseys with DeGeneres’ logo on the front, and then were introduced to their soccer idol -- LA Galaxy striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic high-fived the players before paying tribute to their bravery.
"I thought I was brave, but these kids, this team, is more braver than me ... This is probably the best team in the world," he said.
You knew the writers at "Saturday Night Live" weren't going to let this one go.
Days after rapper Kanye West's White House visit with President Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin returned to the comedy show for the first time this season in a spoof of Thursday's headline-making meeting.
"I flew here using the power of this hat!" cast member Chris Redd, playing a rambling West, proclaimed, pointing to his "Make America Great Again" cap.
"This guy might be cuckoo," Baldwin, as Trump, said to himself in a voice-over. "I've been in a room with Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, and they made a lot more sense than him."
Redd's West, echoing some of Trump's real-life comments, called himself a "stable genius" with a "high IQ" and "the best words."
"Oh, my God, he's black me!" Baldwin's Trump realized in an internal monologue.
Meanwhile, Kenan Thompson, playing NFL icon Jim Brown, mused to himself: "I played football with a leather helmet, and my brain is still working better than his."
The sketch ended with Baldwin's Trump declaring: "I love you, Kanye. We've a lot more in common than people know. We're both geniuses, we're both married to beautiful women, and we've both definitely been recorded saying the N-word."
The Tuesday night award show wrapped with an all-star gospel performance in homage to Franklin featuring Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and Mary Mary.
The Queen of Soul’s history with the AMAs – as a host, winner and performer – was acknowledged at the beginning of the segment, before a smiling Knight emerged to draw the notes out of “Amazing Grace” in the essence of Franklin.
Gospel mainstay Donnie McClurkin took the crowd to church with a rousing “Climb Higher Mountains” (also the recessional song at Franklin’s funeral) and was followed by Winans delivering a passionate “Mary Don’t You Weep,” Ledisi belting “How I Got Over” and gospel duo Mary Mary and a spirited backing chorus clapping and grooving through “Old Landmark.”
Earlier in the show, Taylor Swift commanded the winner’s circle with an armful of awards, including artist and tour of the year.
Atlanta rappers Migos won favorite duo or group – pop/rock, beating Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5.
For a full list of winners, click here.
"Saturday Night Live" didn't waste any time reacting to Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, imagining Republican senators celebrating the news with a rowdy postgame-style celebration in the "GOP locker room."
>> Watch the full sketch here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)
In the show's cold open, CNN's Dana Bash, played by cast member Heidi Gardner, spoke with a jubilant Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett), Susan Collins (Cecily Strong), Lindsey Graham (Kate McKinnon) and other key figures in Saturday's 50-48 vote.
"There are a lot of pacemakers being put to the test tonight," Gardner's Bash said as the "senators" shimmied in the background.
When asked if this was a win he could be proud of, Bennett, as McConnell, exclaimed: "Oh, hell yeah, Dana!"
"Everyone is pumped, from white men over 60 to white men over 70," he added.
McKinnon's Graham took the spotlight next, conceding, "We made a lot of women real worried today, but I'm not getting pregnant, so I don't care."
Strong's Collins then weighed in on her pivotal vote for Kavanaugh, who has denied multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.
“The last thing I wanted was to make this about me," she said. "That’s why I told everyone to tune in at 3 p.m. to tell all my female supporters, ‘Psych!'”
McKinnon, as Graham, added that this win was "about the fans."
"They've been there for us all week, cheering and screaming outside of our offices," McKinnon's Graham said.
"I'm sorry, you think those were fans?" Gardner, as Bash, interjected.
"Oh, yeah, for sure. And I know that they agree with us because they were shouting out, 'Me, too!'" McKinnon said.
The sketch also took aim at Senate Democrats, cutting to a brief interview with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (Alex Moffat).
"The Dems lost another one; you know, it's what we do now," he said. "Look, we thought this time would be better than the Anita Hill hearing because Dr. (Christine Blasey) Ford was white, but then it turned out Brett Kavanaugh was white, too, and, you know, we were completely blindsided by that."
Williams, who joined Bravo’s stalwart reality series in 2012, announced she and her boyfriend Dennis McKinley got engaged. The pair recently announced that they were also expecting a baby soon, so the news about this relatively new couple has been buzzing for a few weeks.
Many fans have been digging for the background story on her new boyfriend-turned-fiancé. If you’ve been wanting to know a bit more about Porsha Williams new fiancé, here are a few tidbits about McKinley:He is a native of Detroit.
According to McKinley’s public Facebook profile, he calls Detroit home. He also went to college in Michigan. He studied economics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.He is a ‘serial entrepreneur,’ according to his business website.
McKinley is the CEO of business conglomerate Detroit Equities, which runs the Atlanta-based businesses Cru Hookah Lounge and the Original Hot Dog Factory. His businesses also have locations in his hometown. The site described McKinley as “a serial entrepreneur” with “a background in real estate, e-commerce, retail, business and product development.”He is expecting his first child with Williams.
In an interview with People, Williams said she and McKinley had known each other for years but only began dating this past year. She shared the baby news with McKinley in July.
“The thought of me getting that blessing after praying for it for so long and getting that blessing with someone who is just as excited as me — it’s Dennis’ first child, just like me — and it’s something we’ve both always wanted. … It’s like a dream come true,” Williams told the magazine.He proposed to Williams in Atlanta after planning the occasion for months.
McKinley reportedly proposed to Williams over the weekend after planning the occasion for two months, according to a People magazine exclusive.
“Dennis rented out a venue and took Porsha via helicopter there,” a rep told the magazine, adding that there were “candles and rose petals everywhere.”
Once there, Williams was serenaded by R & B singer Lil’ Mo, who surprised the reality star with her favorite song, “4 Ever.”
“After they were officially engaged, they threw a Prayer party for Baby McKinley,” the rep told People.
A Mexican telenovela star who usually plays a villain was charged with theft Friday, accused of taking items from a Texas discount designer retailer, police said.
Danielle Stefani Arellano, 52, known as Daniela Castro on television, was arrested Friday in San Antonio, KSAT reported. Arellano has starred in shows such as “Me Declaro Culpable,” which translates to "I plead guilty;" and "Lo Que La Vida Me Robo" which means "What life stole from me," the television station reported.
According to court documents, Arellano is accused of walking out of a Saks Off 5th store with items in her purse. Authorities said they believe the actress took between $100 and $750 of merchandise, KSAT reported.
A loss prevention official at Saks said he saw Arellano taking clothes off hangers and putting them into her purse, according to a police report. The official confronted Arellano in the parking lot and she was taken back into the store and arrested and booked on a theft charge, KSAT reported.
Arellano was released later Friday, according to court records.
Police recovered three pairs of pants, wovens, a sweater, a skirt and sportswear, according to the police report.
Arellano starred as Roberta in all 62 episodes of "Me Declaro Culpable" on Las Estrellas, according to IMDb. The series ended earlier this year. The show now airs on Canal RCN, a Colombian television network, KSAT reported.
"Saturday Night Live" didn't hold back in its season premiere this week, taking several jabs at Brett Kavanaugh with the help of a surprise guest.
In the show's cold open – a parody of Thursday's dramatic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing – actor Matt Damon stepped in to play the beleaguered Supreme Court nominee, who has denied multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.
"Let me tell you this: I'm gonna start at an 11," Damon's Kavanaugh, nostrils flared, shouted. "I'm gonna take it to a 15 real quick!"
He continued: "First of all, I showed this speech to almost no one – not my family, not my friends, not even PJ or Tobin or Squi. This is my speech. There are others like it, but this is mine! I wrote it myself last night while screaming into an empty bag of Doritos."
Damon as Kavanaugh called the allegations a "political con job perpetrated by the Clintons, George Soros, Kathy Griffin, the gay mafia and Mr. Ronan Sinatra."
The sketch also took aim at Kavanaugh's statements about drinking in high school, with multiple references to beer and sight-gags involving him chugging water.
"Now I'm usually an optimist – a 'the keg is half-full' kind of guy," Damon's Kavanaugh said. "But what I've seen from the monsters on this committee makes me want to puke – and not from beer."
>> Watch the complete sketch here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised.)
It’s not the original job she wanted, but Hillary Clinton sat down for an interview for a secretarial job in the Thursday’s premiere of CBS’ reboot of “Murphy Brown.”
The former Democratic presidential candidate showed off her deadpan acting skills as she conversed with Candice Bergen, who plays the title role in “Murphy Brown,” noting that her first name was “spelled with one L.”
“I’m here to interview for the secretarial position,” Clinton says.
As she is interviewed, Clinton’s dialogue references her political career.
“For four years I was a secretary for a very large company,” Clinton tells Brown, who is interviewing for a secretary at her new cable news company.
“And you have the requisite skills, computers, email,” Brown asks.
“Emails,” Clinton says. “I do have some experience with emails.”
Brown wraps up the interview by observing that Clinton seems overqualified, but takes her business card.
Clinton’s email on the card is Hilary@youcouldhavehadme.com.
The original “Murphy Brown” series ran from 1988 to 1998, overlapping the time when Clinton was first lady.
Clinton will make another television appearance on Oct. 7, CNN reported. She will play herself, along with former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell in the season premiere of “Madam Secretary.”
Actor Ashton Kutcher signed over complete ownership of his Los Angeles home to his former stepdaughter, Rumer Willis, ETOnline reported.
According to a legal filing obtained by The Blast, in 2009 Kutcher bought a two-bedroom, four-bathroom, 1,800-square-foot home in the Hollywood Hills for $971,500.
At the time, the “That ’70s Show” actor was married to Demi Moore. The document gave 50 percent ownership to Kutcher and Moore’s daughter by actor Bruce Willis, Rumer Willis, People reported. Kutcher and Moore were divorced in 2013 after eight years of marriage, ETOnline reported.
On Aug. 3, Kutcher signed over his ownership to Rumer Willis. He needed approval from his current wife, Mila Kunis, since the home was listed as community property after they were married in 2015, ETOnline reported.
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