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Sunday, December 7, 2008


Bil Baird found the love of the puppet when at the age of 8 his father made him a puppet. Baird was born 1904 in Neb., and grew up in Iowa. At the age of 14 Bil was giving his own shows in the home of his father. Bil went to a T. Sarg performance and found true love in the world of puppetry, and began greating his own puppets., making everything from soft delicate wood puppets to larger then life creations. A graduate of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, he began work with his mentor Tony Sarg in NYC at the age of 24 and by the time he was 30 he formed his own company 'Baird Marionettes' and he gave his first performance at the Chicago Worlds Fair. 1950 his Marionettes performed in the Broadway musical Flahookey, night club tours, commercials, TV specials and the rest as they say was history. He toured the world making stops in Russia, India, Afghanistan, for the US State Department, also made a permanent mark in the movie The Sound Of Music, in the GoatHerd sequence, performed in several Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades, as well as performing at several Worlds Fairs.


Peter son of legendary puppeteers Bil and Cora Baird, passed away 7/16/2004 at the age of 52 from esophageal cancer. He began his training at the age of 5 and carried on the family legacy. He worked for the family business from age 7. By the time he reached the age of 19 he attained professional status. He performed, directed, and wrote for many of the Baird productions. He toured internationally with the theatre until his father's death in 1987, when he began creating on his own. Peter played Broadway in 'Davy Jones Locker and took it on tour with his parents. He was involved in the Pinocchio in 1989 National Festical. He was involved in The Shining Time Station, he operated Grace the Bass in the shows Juke Box Puppet Band.

Peter was pivotol in the Davy Jones show and was in 100s of commercials. He was active on stage, television and films, such as "The Muppets Take Manhattan" and "Howard the Duck".

MacNider Art Museum was visited by Peter to give a show for the 150 or so who showed up when Peter brought back to life the many puppets his father created and donated to the museum. A donation to the BIL Baird Endowment fund will help keep these wonderful puppets alive for many many years to come. MacNider Art Museum In Mason City. BothBil and Peter will be surely missed. If you have memories to share please send them in so I can post them for you.
A longtime friend of Peter Baird has established the Peter Baird Endowment Fund at the MacNider Art Museum to support the care and maintenance of the treasured Baird Collection and help educate future generations of the joys of puppetry. Donations can be given in his honor to the MacNider Art Museum, 303 Second Street SE, Mason City or by calling 641-421-3666.
Peter is fondly remembered as a free, independent, and creative spirit. He will be missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing him, both young and old.

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