Sesame Street

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Kimmel and Colbert, Bee and Fallon et al., pay attention: Elmo did not come to play.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN WILL I BE LOVED")

LINDA RONSTADT: (Singing) I've been cheated, been mistreated - when...

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Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

This year, Sesame Street turns 50. That means 50 years of Sunny Days, Elmo, Big Bird and the Letter of the Day.

Here & Now‘s Tonya Mosley speaks with NPR TV critic Eric Deggans (@Deggans) about the show’s legacy of inclusion and why it still resonates with kids.

The band Earth, Wind & Fire, actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt, television program Sesame Street and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas are the next recipients of one of the most prestigious U.S. awards for lifetime artistic achievement: the Kennedy Center Honors. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts made the announcement today.

Sesame Street, the award-winning children's program turns 50 this year. As the iconic TV program has aged, it has managed to stay musically apace with its forever-young audience. It's not an easy task, but it's one that the show's creators prioritize for the sake of children's education. While Big Bird, Elmo & co.

It's the end of an era on Sesame Street: The man who has given voice and life to Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for nearly 50 years is hanging up his big orange legs.

Caroll Spinney, 84, has performed the roles since the show's very first episode in 1969. He had met Jim Henson at a puppetry festival in 1962, and Henson invited him to be a part of this new show he was creating.

New life was breathed into a perennial debate this week, when a former Sesame Street writer revealed that not only did he consider beloved characters Bert and Ernie to be a gay couple, but he used his own relationship as creative inspiration.

On Sunday, Queerty published an interview with Mark Saltzman, who worked on the show in the 1980s and 90s, asking him if he thought of Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

Elmo and Big Bird have lots of experience teaching children everything from the ABCs to autism. Soon, they could be bringing smiles — and education — to millions of refugee children forced from their homes in Syria, Iraq and other war-torn countries.

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