Bob McGrath, original star of Sesame Street who started on the show in 1967, dies at 90

Bob McGrath, one of the original stars of Sesame Street, has passed away at the age of 91.

McGrath starred in the pilot in 1969 and continued to star in another 47 seasons.

News of the actor’s death was shared by the family on its official Facebook page.

“Our father Bob McGrath passed away today. He passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family,” read a post on the entertainer’s Facebook page.

McGrath finally retired from acting on Sesame Street with his last episode titled Having a Ball in 2017.

He appeared in over 150 episodes of the show and numerous direct-to-video specials and two feature films.

McGrath taught classes for children through his puppetry and also wrote original sons for the production, including People in Your Neighborhood, Sing a Song, If You’re Happy And You Know It, and the Sesame Street theme song.

Bob McGrathm, one of the original stars of Sesame Street, has passed away at the age of 91

The four regular hosts of Sesame Street are depicted during the first season.  Seen from left, Bob McGrath, Matt Robinson, Will Lee and Loretta Long.  The series is now in its 53rd season

The four regular hosts of Sesame Street are depicted during the first season. Seen from left, Bob McGrath, Matt Robinson, Will Lee and Loretta Long. The series is now in its 53rd season

McGrath was one of four cast members hired for the 1969 launch of Sesame Street, playing a character named Bob alongside Matt Robinson as Gordon, Loretta Long as Susan, and Will Lee as Mr. Hooper.

“We’ve always seen children as little people,” McGrath told the Sun-Times in 1998. “We never spoke condescendingly to them.”

“The kids we had to reach, I think we reached,” McGrath added. “They’ve grown up. They are now in their thirties. They have kids of their own, our sesame seeds, and they come up to me and say, “Thank you so much. It’s made a big difference in our lives.”

Although McGrath finally stopped appearing in front of the lens for Sesame Street in 2017, he continued to work behind the scenes with the Sesame Workshop.

McGrath is pictured in the center of the photo during Sesame Street's 50th anniversary celebrations in 1999

McGrath is pictured in the center of the photo during Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1999

Bob McGrath celebrated his 90th birthday in June, pictured above

Bob McGrath celebrated his 90th birthday in June, pictured above

McGrath can be seen next to some dolls in a photo taken in September

McGrath can be seen next to some dolls in a photo taken in September

McGrath walks around the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York, earlier this year

McGrath walks around the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, New York, earlier this year

He would continue to appear at public events related to the television franchise and served as an advocate for the show.

He also starred in numerous Sesame Street productions over the years, including standalone movies, sing-alongs, holiday specials, video games, and more.

His last appearance was in the documentary Sesame Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street in 2021.

Before Sesame Street, McGrath sang the week’s hits as part of the vocal ensemble on conductor Mitch Miller’s 1960s NBC series Sing Along With Mitch.

Born June 13, 1932 in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath studied music at the University of Michigan and later at the Manhattan School of Music.

McGrath married his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, in 1958.

He was one of the longest-serving human adult cast members on the series and is survived by his wife, Ann, and their three children, plus five grandchildren.

Pictured in 1967, the hosts of the television show Sesame Street pose on set with Big Bird.  From left to right: Matt Robinson (1937 - 2002), Will Lee (1908 - 1982), Loretta Long, now aged 84 and Bob McGrath, right who died on Sunday at age 90

Pictured in 1967, the hosts of the television show Sesame Street pose on set with Big Bird. From left to right: Matt Robinson (1937 – 2002), Will Lee (1908 – 1982), Loretta Long, now aged 84 and Bob McGrath, right who died on Sunday at age 90

Sesame Street cast member Bob McGrath is pictured in December 2021

Sesame Street cast member Bob McGrath is pictured in December 2021

Bob McGrath is pictured in 2008. He would still appear at public events related to the television franchise and serve as an advocate for the show

Bob McGrath is pictured in 2008. He would still appear at public events related to the television franchise and serve as an advocate for the show

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