how much does big bird get paid

From Big Bird to Bert, the people in your Sesame Street neighborhood have been teaching, entertaining, and earning.

Its where the air is sweet, its where friendly neighbors meet… its the one and only Sesame Street! The famed and beloved childrens program first hit the small screen on Nov. 10, 1969. Creator Jim Henson developed the puppeteer method that is still used by puppeteers today; the use of rolling stools and TV monitor guidance help to make the end result come together flawlessly, as loyal viewers have become accustomed to. The show created an awareness and culture of inclusion, kindness, and consideration that was, sad but true, before its time. The show is so loved that on May 1, 2019, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the day “Sesame Street Day” in honor of the shows 50-year-run and gave a new name to the intersection of 63rd and Broadway – Sesame Street.

The show and characters are treasured by so many people. But what about the people behind the show and characters? Are they nicely compensated for bringing some of Americas most beloved puppets to life?

In 2012, the last year currently available on the site, his base salary was $271,213, and his total compensation was $306,848.

Although Spinney continues to perform as Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird, he no longer wears yellow on a daily basis, which suggests he might not be making as much money.

According to the publicly available form 990 published every year from Sesame Workshop, the educational nonprofit that runs Sesame Street the show, Spinneys compensation has topped $300,000 including retirement and other benefits.

To learn more about Spinneys career, check out his Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).

The man behind Big Bird from Sesame Street is Caroll Spinney, or rather, Spinney spent his 46-year career really donning those yellow feathers.

Big Bird Brings Home The Big Bucks

From the beginning of the show, Caroll Spinney, the actor who has been bringing Big Bird to life for about 40 years, has also provided the voice and puppeteer movement for Oscar the Grouch. For the record, their publicly available 990 tax form indicates that he made $314,072 in 2010. However, Spinney’s Sesame Street story is a genuine inspiration of a rags-to-riches story. When Spinney was eight years old, he fell in love with puppetry and spent five cents on his first puppet, a monkey. He constructed a puppet stage out of some random scrap wood and performed his first puppet show. Even though he only had thirty-two cents at the end of the day, he knew he had found his purpose. Legendary Spinney’s net worth peaked at $8 million when he passed away in 2019.

Kevin Clash aka “Elmo”

From 1985 until 2012, Clash, the Elmos puppeteer, was reported to have earned over $1 million annually, though it’s unclear how much of that was from Sesame Street profits. Following accusations of sexual impropriety, Clash resigned in 2012. Clash refuted the accusations, which were subsequently dropped due to a potential statute of limitations violation. 2018 saw Clash working on the puppet-assisted comedy The Happytime Murders.

Over the years, his large salary was due, in part from his work as a co-executive producer along with the voice and puppeteering talents that he provided to Sesame Street along with work on other childrens programs such as Captain Kangaroo, Caboose, and Great Space Coaster and was involved from a production point in many of the Muppet movies.


How much money does Big Bird make?

According to the publicly available form 990 published every year from Sesame Workshop, the educational nonprofit that runs Sesame Street the show, Spinney’s compensation has topped $300,000 including retirement and other benefits.

Does Sesame Street make money?

Sesame Workshop, the organization behind the children’s television show Sesame Street, does receive funding from PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) for the show. However, Sesame Workshop also generates revenue through other means such as merchandise sales and international distribution of the show.

How much does a puppeteer for Sesame Street make?

$70K (Median Total Pay) The estimated total pay range for a Puppeteer at Sesame Workshop is $53K–$98K per year, which includes base salary and additional pay. The average Puppeteer base salary at Sesame Workshop is $70K per year.

Who owns Big Bird?

Sesame Workshop, which gained all rights to the Muppets used on Sesame Street in 2000, still owns Big Bird.