Tyler James Williams Recalls Shocking Childhood Memory of Seeing Big Bird Without His Head on ‘Sesame Street’

Tyler James Williams Was Shocked When He Saw Big Bird Without His Head on Sesame Street
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While some people would have loved to act on Sesame Street as a child, Tyler James Williams recalled one instance that nearly scarred him as a 7-year-old kid on set.

“I remember the moment of walking on set and seeing a man in Big Bird and it stopped me at first,” Williams, 31, shared during the Thursday, February 15, episode of SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show. “The head was off and he just had the legs on, and it definitely shocked me.”

At the time, Williams said he wasn’t quite sure how to react as he knew his muppet costars like Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Kermit weren’t actually real, but wasn’t used to seeing the actors who play them.

“They [usually] stay in character the entire time,” he remembered from his time on the show, which lasted from 2000 to 2005. “[For instance], if it's Elmo, although you can see the hand up the puppet, the voice coming out of the man's mouth will always be Elmo until the kids leave, so that’s what helps bridge the gap a little bit.”

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Williams noted that he appreciated the actors trying to keep the magic alive on set and be in character when they were filming the iconic show.

“They're very aware of how jarring [finding out they aren’t real] can be for a kid and they do a really good job of making it feel as natural as possible,” he explained.

Now that he’s older, Williams said he looks back on his time on Sesame Street and has a new appreciation for everyone working there, especially the muppet performers.

“You also then get a really good understanding of how hard that job is to do,” he shared, before gushing over everything the actor who plays Big Bird did.

“Big Bird, the man is in the suit, but the mouth is moving from his arm that is stretched up, so you somehow have to be able to stand and move one of the arms and flap it and, you know, walk and do all of this while your other hand is moving along with the mouth and I remember looking at that and going, ‘This is much harder than anybody thinks,’” he pointed out.

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He also praised the duo behind Elmo as well, saying, “It takes two people to do Elmo and to move the hands and the mouth at the same time and they're sliding along the floor together.”

Big Bird’s true identity wasn’t the only secret Williams spilled. The Abbott Elementary star also revealed another surprising behind-the-scenes fact about the Sesame Street cast.

“I hate to break it to you, but Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird are the same person,” he said, adding that Mr. Snuffleupagus is also the same actor.

“I will say this: Snuffleupagus is the head and then the butt,” he explained. “Those are two different people. That has to be the case, but yeah. The same actor does all three.”