Bob McGrath, one of the original ‘Sesame Street’ stars, dies at 90

By Zach Seemayer,

Bob McGrath, an actor and musician best known for being one of the original human stars of « Sesame Street, » died Sunday. He was 90 years old.

McGrath’s family confirmed his death in a statement shared on Facebook, which read, « Hello Facebook friends, the McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father Bob McGrath passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family ❤️.

The show’s official social media accounts also shared the news, retweeting a message from the Sesame Workshop.

« Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years, » they wrote, alongside a photo of McGrath.

« A founding cast member, Bob embodied the tunes of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances have brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world, » the post continued. “Whether it’s teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts. A revered performer the world over, Bob’s wealthy tenor has repeatedly filled the airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo.

“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,” Sesame Workshop said, concluding their tribute to the beloved actor.

McGrath debuted in the long-running television series in 1969, during its pilot episode. Starring friendly neighbor Bob Johnson, McGrath became a « Sesame Street » staple, appearing on the show for five decades and 47 seasons.

His last appearance on the show was in 2017, but McGrath has always remained in the « Sesame Street » universe, continuing to make public appearances at various TV show-related events.

McGrath appeared in some of the show’s most iconic scenes, including the musical performances of « People in Your Neighborhood », « Sing a Song », « If You’re Happy And You Know It » and even the theme song for the show. series. He was also one of the most prominent human faces on « Sesame Street », appearing in various films, video games and productions to sing for the show.

Born in 1932 in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath studied music at the University of Michigan and later at the Manhattan School of Music. He married his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, in 1958, and broke into entertainment in the ’60s as the lead singer of Mitch Miller’s series, « Sing Along With Mitch. » There he expanded his work as a recording artist before finding his way to what would become his « Sesame Street » home in 1969.

McGrath is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons and eight grandchildren.

See fan reactions to his death below.


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