Original ‘Sesame Street’ Cast Member Bob McGrath Dies : NPR


sesame street‘s Bob McGrath waves to the crowd as he rides a float at the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The longtime original cast member of the iconic children’s show died on Sunday.

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Original 'Sesame Street' Cast Member Bob McGrath Dies : NPR

sesame street‘s Bob McGrath waves to the crowd as he rides a float at the 2009 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. The longtime original cast member of the iconic children’s show died on Sunday.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Bob McGrath, an actor and recording artist who was an original cast member on sesame street, died on Sunday. He was 90 years old.

McGrath died of complications from a stroke, his daughter Cat McGrath confirmed to NPR.

Original 'Sesame Street' Cast Member Bob McGrath Dies : NPR

Bob McGrath, is seen at the 2010 AFTRA AMEE Awards at the Plaza Hotel in 2010 in New York City.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for AFTRA


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Larry Busacca/Getty Images for AFTRA

Original 'Sesame Street' Cast Member Bob McGrath Dies : NPR

Bob McGrath, is seen at the 2010 AFTRA AMEE Awards at the Plaza Hotel in 2010 in New York City.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for AFTRA

The actor’s death was announced by family members on social media: “He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family,” reads McGrath’s Facebook page.

McGrath, one of Sesame StreetThe first human cast members who starred in the 1969 children’s TV show pilot, became a regular on the show for nearly five decades, playing friendly neighbor Bob Johnson, alongside Big Bird and from a host of other beloved Muppets.

Sesame Workshop shared a statement on social media mourning “a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.”

“Bob embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances have brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world, whether teaching them the ABCs , the people in their neighborhood or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts. ,” the Workshop said on Twitter.

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath studied music at the University of Michigan and later at the Manhattan School of Music. McGrath was a veteran artist when Sesame Street recruited him. In 1962, NBC invited the tenor singer to perform on Mitch Miller’s family television show, Sing along with Mitch. After the show was canceled two years later, McGrath continued to sing with the band, now a residency at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. He took his talents on tour to Japan, where he found a staunch teenage fanbase, according to his website’s biography page.

It was Dave Connell, a University of Michigan alumnus who worked as a producer for Captain Kangaroo before executive production sesame streetwho approached McGrath to audition for the children’s show.

McGrath, who instead hoped to break into the American teen market with her own show, according to her site, had no interest in working on a children’s show at first.

But after seeing tapes of the work of Muppets creator Jim Henson, he told a crowd at a convention in Florida in 2016 that he was “totally blown away”.

“I was thinking, fuck this teenage thing, this is what I want to do,” he said. “Because it was obvious from the very beginning, this was going to be a unique and amazing show.”

In 2017, Sesame Workshop cut McGrath and two other longtime cast members from the show, deciding not to renew their contracts. In response to the redesign of the distribution, the Workshop had stressed its need to constantly adapt its content to the educational needs of children.

Although McGrath ended his run on the show that year, he continued to make Sesame Street-related public appearances, including his feature film in the 2021 HBO documentary. Street gang: how we got to Sesame Street.

McGrath, father of five and grandfather of eight, is survived by his wife Ann Sperry.




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