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No, Oscar The Grouch Was Not Removed From Sesame Street (Only Part Of Him Was)

Longtime "Sesame Street" staple Oscar the Grouch is still very much a part of the iconic children's show, but the character isn't quite the same as he once was.

Perhaps sparking rumors that he's no longer on "Sesame Street" is the fact that Oscar the Grouch's original voice actor was replaced. From the series' start through 2018, Caroll Spinney voiced Oscar, continuing, even, to play the role after partially retiring from at least one other major character. Spinney was notably one of the early architects of "Sesame Street," landing a puppeteering job on the landmark children's show after meetingĀ "Muppets" creator Jim Henson.

In addition to Oscar the Grouch, Spinney was in charge of Big Bird and various other smaller parts from time to time. However, he mostly retired from the role of Big Bird in 2015 after he was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called dystonia. He then handed the character over to Matt Vogel, who already had some experience as BigĀ Bird. From 2015 to 2018, Spinney remained Oscar's primary performer before officially ceding the role to his understudy Eric Jacobson. Spinney died shortly after, in 2019. Today's Oscar may therefore be fundamentally changed, but still under the care of someone trained directly by the man responsible for his iconic demeanor.

Oscar the Grouch has changed in more ways than one throughout Sesame Street history

Since today's Oscar the Grouch is performed by Eric Jacobson rather than original actor and puppeteer Caroll Spinney, the character may act differently in certain subtle ways compared to how most older viewers might remember him. That said, the differences between Oscar's very first incarnations and the version of his character most viewers now know so well are far more stark.

As those familiar with "Sesame Street" history may already know, Oscar is orange in the show's first season. Jim Henson soon decided that green was more befitting and altered his design, which the show explained happened to him during a visit to Swamp Mushy Muddy.

What even those fans might not know, however, is that in initial designs for the character, Oscar was neither green nor orange but magenta. Ultimately, Henson and co. landed on his original orange appearance after figuring out that magenta might not show up so clearly on color TVs as they existed in 1969. So, while Oscar the Grouch is still very much in the "Sesame Street" fold, he's undergone at least a few notable changes between his introduction and the series as it is today.