Maritime puppeteer Terry Angus reflects on career
HALIFAX -- While millions mourned the death this week of Carroll Spinney, the legendary puppeteer who was known for his work as Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street, one Maritime man is reflecting on the loss of a friend and a mentor.
Terry Angus has spent a lifetime bringing puppets to life, and studied and worked with Jim Henson, Spinney and other Muppet-masters.
There’s always a little magic in the comfortably cluttered workshop of Terry Angus, who is most at home surrounded by bits of foam and fabric.
Angus was just 18-years-old when he started working with the legendary Jim Henson, who occasionally showed him off in big productions.
Next year will mark 30-years since Henson died, and this week, Angus lost another mentor with the passing of Carroll Spinney.
“We have a loss, as we did with Jim, of a great spirit that united the world with all kinds of love and happiness, and teaching things, and he was a great soul. A great soul,” recalls Angus about Spinney’s passing.
While Angus worked for years on shows like Fraggle Rock, Maritime audiences may be more familiar with his work on the IWK Telethon, where his own creation Butch G. Cat, was a fixture.
Some health problems have slowed him down, but Angus continues to work on his creations, completing an average of one puppet a month. A degenerative disc disease has left him needing a walker.
“Plus I had cerebral palsy all my life and I don’t think that helped either,” adds Angus.
His wife of 32-years, Cheryl Angus, admits she was a fan before she became a life partner. Puppets were even part of their courtship- Terry would bring them over to her family’s house in Pugwash, N.S. where they both grew up.
“I remember he brought a Santa Claus one, I think that was the first one I saw, and it was just magic,” recalls Cheryl. “It was like Terry disappeared, and it was just the character you were talking to.”
With the loss of another friend and mentor in Spinney, Angus has a lot to reflect on and remember as he toils away in his workshop, a master of his craft who found magic in bits of foam and fabric.