Big Bird
Sesame Street Sesame Street

Big Bird

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Big Bird with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Sesame Street

For our 3000th voice compare, who out there as a choice can possibly be bigger than this bird?

Big Bird is arguably the closest thing to a main character in the 50-year history of Sesame Street. Curious, childlike, and innocent, he lives on Sesame Street itself and loves spending time with his human friends, along with Snuffy and formerly, Mr. Hooper, whose name he could never quite get right. Big Bird doesn't know everything and is always happy to expand his horizons, and while the mistakes he makes may be frustrating, he's always able to get back up on his feet and move forward.

Since the beginning of the show in 1969, Caroll Spinney has stuck devotedly to Big Bird. Although he no longer performs him in the suit, he still often provides his voice in post-production. Of course, you can't go 50 years without picking up a couple of understudies, so Daniel Seagren filled in for Big Bird's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and episode 83 in 1970. Since the late 90s, Matt Vogel has been Caroll Spinney's understudy. He is now the fulltime suit performer and occasionally lets his voice shine through as well.

Very special thanks to Ghosty404 for Matt Vogel and Daniel Seagren's clips! (As well as the appended bonus Caroll.)
Created by NCZ on Jun 13 2018
Sesame Street (1969)
Big BirdMatt Vogel
Matt Vogel (NEW CLIP)
Sesame Street (1969)
Big BirdDaniel Seagren
Daniel Seagren (NEW CLIP)
Sesame Street (1969)
Big BirdCaroll Spinney
Caroll Spinney (NEW CLIP)

EDITOR'S OPINION

What is there to say about Caroll's performance that hasn't be said. He has to be one of the most dedicated voice performers in the history of VA work, let alone puppetering. He quite literally is Big Bird on every possible level. His performance has heart to it, he has a strong sense of will, and you can feel the sheer love he exudes not only for Big Bird as a character, but the children Big Bird seeks to entertain. It's one of the best performances not just in the history of children's television, but for any iconic character, ever.

His performance has evolved naturally over time as well. If you listen on his page there is an extra clip showing his earliest voice.

It's this earliest voice that Daniel Seagren is taking after. It's a little dopier in sound and kind of obvious that there was a replacement, but he only got a couple public shots in the role, so there's not a lot of the polish that Spinney and later Vogel naturally acquired.

That being said, I'm pretty happy with Matt Vogel being groomed as successor. His Kermit kind of strikes me as funny since it feels like Constantine as Kermit, but as Big Bird, he's got it down. He nails Big Bird's youthful, childlike innocence and optimism. As an impression you can tell he's not Caroll at times, but he has the spirit.

Overall, while Caroll is obviously on top, as we look to the future with Matt Vogel I think we're in a good place.


NCZ

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BNSF1995
said at 4:50 PM on Fri Jun 15 2018
 1 Shout Out!
You used the Mr. Hooper episode for the Carroll Spinney clip?!
TylerMirage (Admin)
said at 10:15 AM on Thu Jun 14 2018
 15 Shout Outs!
Oh, boy! Can't wait to listen to some uplifting and positive fluff clips to brighten my day! Let me just open the ol' BTVA voice compare page and take a listen!
NCZ (Admin)
said at 10:22 PM on Thu Jun 14 2018
@TylerMirage

I'm sorry, Tyler.

I'm so, so sorry.

(I'll put the onions away.)
8000 Saiyans
said at 6:59 AM on Thu Jun 14 2018
 4 Shout Outs!
The only one here I really, really like is Caroll Spinney.
Shaun Ince
said at 6:19 AM on Thu Jun 14 2018
 5 Shout Outs!
Caroll Spinney is the best voice for Big Bird. That was a very good clip that you chose for him, it shows him going through several emotions at the same time. And it's why his performance stands the test of time.

Daniel Seagren is decent but he didn't get a whole lot to shine in this role. I still think he gets the voice down pretty well for the most part.

Matt Vogel is the best successor to Caroll. Very good stuff.
Ghosty404
said at 5:02 AM on Thu Jun 14 2018
 3 Shout Outs!
Oh god, you chose that clip..

Spinney’s Big Bird was a large part of my childhood, and I always had a place in my heart for his work. The work he did over the years were without a doubt a fantastic job in how one man, a lot of craftsmen, and Jim Henson could bring a young bird to life. The fact he has been Big Bird for nearly fifty years is just amazing.

Matt Vogel does a close job in replicating the feel of Big Bird. He kinda plays him as a little older, but still recognizable as Big Bird. He sounds a little nasal but recently has gotten the voice quite close. Maybe it’ll happen with Kermit too?

Caroll Spinney once did this stupid Goofy-like voice for Big Bird, and while it was kinda funny, it was something I’d never take seriously, nor would like to hear again.

Daniel Seagren did his job in trying to imitate the feel of dumb-Big Bird, but he kinda sounded reaaaaally stupid and southern.
Abdullab
said at 9:32 PM on Wed Jun 13 2018
 3 Shout Outs!
Big Bird is my fav character from Sesame Street, I remember when as a kid when i bought Sesame street VCRS, I always made sure Bg Bird was the main character or had a big role in those episodes or movies.

I totally agree that Caroll is the most definitive voice for the character. The fact he played him for many decades is outstanding, I don`t think as much as people try no one will live up to his legacy.

That said Matt vogel is pretty good as Big Bird and Daniel sounds off to me because I`m so used to Caroll
batcool
said at 9:28 PM on Wed Jun 13 2018
 3 Shout Outs!
Caroll is just brilliant as Big Bird and that clip shows you why he great

Matt Vogel been a great successor to Caroll
skeletonking1234
said at 8:49 PM on Wed Jun 13 2018
 6 Shout Outs!
Carroll is absolutely classic. He has this incredibly warmth and childlike innocence to the performance that just makes him feel so natural in the role. That clip that was used was easily some of his best work because it also showed that Carroll knew how to make Bird feel incredibly three dimensional, having all the reactions a child would have in the circumstances of someone dying.

Matt is a great successor. His voice is a little more nasally then Carroll but he still does a near perfect job of impersonating him.

Daniel isn't bad, but I think he sounds too deep, and it sounds like he's playing it like Big Bird has a cold.
NCZ (Admin)
said at 8:18 PM on Wed Jun 13 2018
 13 Shout Outs!
I just have to say. I've seen the episode that Caroll's clip is from before, as a kid. I think it's quite possibly the single most definitive scene in all of Sesame Street and I just knew it was only right to use it since it's the scene that sums up just why Caroll is so special.

Recording that clip made me cry.
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THE BEST
Who do you think has been the best from these Big Bird voice actors?
Caroll Spinney
Daniel Seagren
Matt Vogel