|Birth Day:||August 15, 1904|
|Death Date:||Mar 18, 1987 (age 82)|
|Birth Place:||Grand Island, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Bil Baird died on Mar 18, 1987 (age 82).
He fell in love with puppets when he was only eight, after his father made a string puppet for him. He began creating his own when he was 14.
Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Baird grew up in Mason City, Iowa. He traced his love of puppets to the moment when his father made him a simple string puppet when he was eight. In 1921, he attended a local performance of the Tony Sarg production of “Rip Van Winkle”, which cemented his interest. By the time he was fourteen, Baird was creating his own puppets and giving performances in the attic of his parents’ home.
A graduate of the University of Iowa and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, he began work with childhood idol Tony Sarg in New York City in 1928.
In 1934, Baird formed his own company, the Baird Marionettes. Their first performance was at the Chicago’s World’s Fair.
In 1950, Baird and Producer Yul Brynner created a show based on his character Snarky Parker called Life With Snarky Parker, which was a satire of westerns. The show featured numerous characters who were previously created by Baird that included Snarky Parker, Baird's Everyman character, Charlemagne, a lion, Flannel Mouse, Slugger Ryan, a piano playing rod puppet, along with new characters that included Fluffy and Nolan, a pair of gangsters, Ronald Rodent, a villain who resembled a rat, Birdie, a slightly air-headed woman, Cuda Bara, a seductress, Butterbelle, a schoolteacher and Snarky's love interest, and Paw, her father.
In 1951, Baird's Marionettes performed some of the roles in the Broadway musical Flahooley, a fantasy about a mass-produced laughing doll who unintentionally threatens the American industrial system.
In 1956 Baird's puppets Gargle and Snarky appeared in Adventures in Numbers and Space, a nine part series by Westinghouse Broadcasting designed to interest children in mathematics.
In 1958 to 1963, Baird's puppets would often appear on an educational show known as Parlons Francais (Let's Talk French), which taught young children how to speak French. For this show, Baird created three new characters named Patapouf, Lady Graybangs and Cliquot, who were hand puppets that would often lecture children and hang out with Anne Slack, who was the hostess of the program.
In 1959, Baird helped create Schultz & Dooley, who appeared in advertisements for Utica Club Beer from 1959-1964.
Opening in 1967, the Bil Baird Marionette Theater at 59 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village presented plays for more than a decade. Among them, Ali Baba, The Wizard of Oz, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, Peter and the Wolf, Davy Jones' Locker, A Pageant of Puppet Variety, Holiday on Strings, People is the Thing That the World is Fullest Of, Bil Baird's Band-Wagon, and The Whistling Wizard and the Sultan of Tuffet.
He wrote The Art of the Puppet (1965) and also provided the puppets for Dark Shadows. Baird also created the expandable nose Peter Noone wore as Pinocchio in the 1968 musical adaptation of the Carlo Collodi story that aired on NBC as a Hallmark Hall of Fame special.
In 1972, Baird created an educational short film called Cartonella which told about the importance of milk, the short was a typical 'Damsel in Distress' story which featured the eponymously named "Cartonella", who was a fortune telling cow. this character would later become one of Baird's most popular characters, even having her own float during the 1974/75 Macy's Day Parades.
In 1977, Baird temporarily closed down the theater so he could create another show at Busch Gardens: The Old Country called Once Upon a Dragon, which replaced a show created by Sid and Marty Krofft called the Camelot Revue and was regularly performed at the Reynold's Aluminum Puppet Theater in the Hastings, England section of the park from 1977 to 1978. The show was notable for starting the careers of several puppeteers that would later go onto other projects, like Martin P. Robinson, who would later go on to play Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street. Randy Carfagno, who would later go on to create the costumes of the Racing Presidents for the Major League Baseball Team, The Washington Nationals. Jonathan Freeman, who would later voice the Disney villain Jafar in 1992's Aladdin. And Craig Marin, who would later marry another Baird puppeteer named Olga Felgemacher and form a company known as "Flexitoon".
Baird received many awards and honors, including the Medal of Achievement awarded by the Lotos Club of New York and Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Iowa, and was honored in 1980 by the Union International de la Marionette and Puppeteers of America at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
In 1983, Baird performed a puppet version of Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat, which was his last performance before retiring due to Severe Arthritis.
On March 18, 1987, Baird died at his home in Manhattan at the age of 82 from Pneumonia and Bone-Marrow Cancer.
In December 1988 Bil Baird's Marionettes played at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York. The play Pinocchio, from the book by Jerome Coopersmith, was produced by Arthur Cantor, and performed by puppeteers Peter B. Baird, Pady Blackwood, Randy Carfagno, Larry Engler, William Tost and Richard Weber. Mary Rodgers was the composer; Sheldon Harnick wrote the lyrics. (Playbill Vol.88 No.12).
One of his better known creations was Charlemane the lion. He and his wife Cora Eisenberg Baird (1912–1967) produced and performed the famous puppetry sequence for "The Lonely Goatherd" in the film version of The Sound of Music. His son Peter Baird, was also a puppeteer, and he continued his family's legacy until his own death in July 2004.
Bil and his wife were responsible for The Lonely Goatherd puppetry sequence in 1965's The Sound of Music.
Currently, Bil Baird is 117 years, 9 months and 5 days old. Bil Baird will celebrate 118th birthday on a Monday 15th of August 2022. Below we countdown to Bil Baird upcoming birthday.