Bob McGrath, one of the original cast members of “Sesame Street,” has died at 90, his family said Sunday.
“Our father Bob McGrath, passed away today,” the family posted on Facebook. “He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”
McGrath, who was a Illinois native, was one of the four first cast members hired to launch the iconic children’s show in 1969. He played a character named Bob, and was on the iconic PBS show for 460 episodes until 2017, according to his IMDb profile.
The other original human cast members included Matt Robinson as Gordon, Loretta Long as Gordon’s wife Susan, and Will Lee as Mr. Hooper.
“The kids we were meant to reach, I think we’ve reached,” McGrath said in an 1998 interview with the Sun-Times.
“They’ve grown up. They’re in their 30s now. They have kids of their own, our Sesame Seeds, and they come up to me and say: ‘Thank you very much. It made a major difference in our lives.’”
McGrath’s singing career began at a young age and before joining “Sesame Street” he performed classical and contemporary pieces, according to the bio on his website.
In the early 1960s he was a singer on NBC’s “Sing Along With Mitch,” which ran for four years and was picked up in Japan, his website states. When the show was canceled, the group went to Japan for a 30-concert tour.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the show, called McGrath 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 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 organization wrote in a series of tweets.
“A revered performer worldwide, Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over.
“We will be forever grateful for his many years of passionate creative contributions to Sesame Street and honored that he shared so much of his life with us.”
One current cast member, Alan Muraoka, who plays the owner of Hooper’s Store, called McGrath a mentor, friend and role model. The last time he saw McGrath was to celebrate his 90th birthday.
“His kindness and wicked sense of humor were such a joy, and I loved him so much,” Muraoka said in a Facebook post.
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