Bob McGrath, ‘Sesame Street’ legend, dies at 90

Bob McGrath, an actor, musician and children’s author widely known for his portrayal of one of the first regular characters on the children’s show “Sesame Street” has died at the age of 90.

McGrath’s passing was confirmed by his family who posted on his Facebook page on Sunday: “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.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 03:  Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters performs onstage at the Venice Family Clinic's 32nd Annual Silver Circle Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 3, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for VFC)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – MARCH 03: Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters performs onstage at the Venice Family Clinic’s 32nd Annual Silver Circle Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 3, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for VFC)
FILE - Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his Papal Mass, Thursday, April 17, 2008, at Washington Nationals baseball Park in Washington. In the the United States, admirers of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remembered him warmly for his theological prowess and devotion to traditional doctrine. However, some U.S. Catholics, on learning of his death Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, recalled him as an obstacle to progress in combating clergy sex abuse and expanding the role of women in the church.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE – Barbara Walters arrives to participate in a panel discussion featuring the hosts of ABC’s “The View,” at The Paley Center for Media on April 9, 2008, in New York. Walters, a superstar and pioneer in TV news, has died, according to ABC News on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. She was 93. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
Blues guitarist and singer Walter ‘Wolfman’ Washington performs with the Joe Krown Trio at the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, on April 29, 2011. New Orleans music legend Walter “Wolfman” Washington, a cornerstone of the city’s musical nightlife for decades, has died of cancer, just days after turning 79. Washington died on Dec. 22, 2022, at Passages Hospice, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
All time winningest professional golfer, Kathy Whitworth, left, congratulates Cheyenne Knight after Knight won the LPGA 2019 Volunteers of America golf tournament, Oct. 6, 2019, at Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas. Former LPGA Tour player Whitworth, whose 88 victories are the most by any golfer on a single professional tour, died on Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, night, her longtime partner said. She was 83. (AP Photo/David Kent, File)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris is shown in 1973. Franco Harris, the Hall of Fame running back whose heads-up thinking authored “The Immaculate Reception,” considered the most iconic play in NFL history, died Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. He was 72. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)
Charlie Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones, with his wife Shirley, arrive on the third day of the Royal Ascot horse racing meeting at Ascot, England, Thursday, June, 17, 2010. Shirley Ann Watts, a former art student and prominent breeder of Arabian horses who met drummer Charlie Watts well before he joined the Rolling Stones and with him formed one of rock’s most enduring marriages, has died at age 84. “Shirley died peacefully on Friday 16th December in Devon after a short illness surrounded by her family,” her family announced Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
Stephen “tWitch” Boss attends the FOX 2022 Upfront presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown on Monday, May 16, 2022, in New York. Boss, the amiable DJ for “Ellen DeGeneres Show” and dancer who rose to fame on “So You Think You Can Dance,” has died at 40. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP (Christopher Smith/Invision/AP/Christopher Smith)
Obit Leach Football
FILE – Texas Tech coach Mike Leach waits as a play is reviewed during the first quarter of their NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, Sept. 19, 2009. Mike Leach, the gruff, pioneering and unfiltered college football coach who helped revolutionize the passing game with the Air Raid offense, has died following complications from a heart condition, Mississippi State said Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022. He was 61. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
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Evander Holyfield has his right ear checked by referee Mills Lane after he was bit on the ear by Mike Tyson during the third round of their WBA heavyweight boxing match June 28, 1997, in Las Vegas. Lane, the Hall of Fame boxing referee who was the third man in the ring when Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear, died Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. He was 85. Lane had suffered a stroke in 2002 and son Tommy said his father had taken a significant turn for the worse recently before entering hospice care Friday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Kirstie Alley, who won an Emmy for her role on “Cheers” and starred in films including “Look Who’s Talking,” has died at 71. FILE – In this Jan. 5, 2015 file photo, Kirstie Alley attends the premiere of HBO’s “Girls” fourth season in New York. Alley is joining the cast in the second season of “Scream Queens,” premiering Sept. 20, on Fox. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Obit Bob McGrath
FILE – Bob McGrath, right, looks at the Cookie Monster as they accept the Lifetime Achievement Award for ‘”Sesame Street” at the Daytime Emmy Awards on Aug. 30, 2009, in Los Angeles. McGrath, an actor, musician and children’s author widely known for his portrayal of one of the first regular characters on the children’s show “Sesame Street” has died at the age of 90. McGrath’s passing was confirmed by his family who posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
FILE – Musician Christine McVie attends the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York on March 29, 2019. McVie, the soulful British musician who sang lead on many of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, has died at 79. The band announced her death on social media Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
HOLLYWOOD – AUGUST 25: Actress Nicki Aycox attends the film premiere of “Jeepers Creepers 2” at the Egyptian Theatre on August 25, 2003 in Hollywood, California. The film “Jeepers Creepers 2” opens nationwide on August 29, 2003. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Obit Jason David Frank
FILE – Jason David Frank waves to the crowd as he makes his way down Peachtree Street in the annual DragonCon parade through downtown Atlanta, on Aug. 31, 2013. Frank, who played the Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver on the 1990s children’s series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” has died, according to a statement Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, from his manager, Justine Hunt. He was 49. (Jonathan Phillips/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)
Obit Aaron Carter
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Takeoff of the group Migos performs during the 2019 BET Experience in Los Angeles on June 22, 2019. A representative confirms that rapper Takeoff is dead after a shooting outside of a Houston bowling alley. Takeoff , whose real name was Kirsnick Khari Ball, was part of Migos along with Quavo and Offset. He was 28. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Author Julie Powell attends the premiere of “Julie & Julia” at The Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York, on July 30, 2009. Powell, who became an internet darling after blogging for a year about making every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” leading to a book deal and a film adaptation, died of cardiac arrest on Oct. 26, 2022, at her home in upstate New York. She was 49. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
Jerry Lee Lewis performs during Farm Aid on Sept. 20, 2008 in Mansfield, Mass. Spokesperson Zach Furman said Lewis died Friday morning, Oct. 28, 2022, at his home in DeSoto County, Miss., south of Memphis, Tenn. He was 87. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File)
Leslie Jordan poses for a portrait at Pan Pacific Park in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles on Thursday, April 8, 2021 to promote his new book “How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived.” Jordan, the Emmy-winning actor whose wry Southern drawl and versatility made him a comedy and drama standout on TV series including “Will & Grace” and “American Horror Story,” has died. He was 67. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, who played a crime-solving psychologist on TV series “Cracker” and the half-giant Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” movies, died on Oct. 14, 2022. He was 72. (Getty Images/Gustavo Caballero)
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Country music great Loretta Lynn poses for a portrait in September 2000 in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Christoper Berkey, File). Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter whose frank songs about life and love as a woman in Appalachia pulled her out of poverty and made her a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90. (AP/Christopher Berkey)
Wrestler Antonio Inoki, left, and world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali shake hands after a 15-round boxing- wrestling fight on June 26, 1976, at Tokyo’s Budokan hall. A popular Japanese professional wrestler and lawmaker Antonio Inoki, who faced a world boxing champion Muhammad Ali in a mixed martial arts match in 1976, has died at 79. The New Japan Pro-Wrestling Co. says Inoki, who was battling an illness, died earlier Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (AP Photo, File)
Coolio performs at halftime of an NBA basketball game between the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans on April 5, 2019, in Phoenix. Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” died Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at age 59, his manager said. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Louise Fletcher holds the Academy Award she won for her leading role in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” in Los Angeles, March 30, 1976. Fletcher, a late-blooming star whose riveting performance as the cruel and calculating Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” set a new standard for screen villains and won her an Academy Award, died Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at age 88. (AP Photo/File)
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr holds a copy of his report while testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday Nov. 19, 1998, before the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearing. Starr, whose criminal investigation of Bill Clinton led to the president’s impeachment, died Sept. 13, 2022. He was 76. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)
In this May 16, 2007 file photo, jury member French actor Michel Piccoli poses during a photo call at the 60th International film festival in Cannes, southern France. Michel Piccoli, a prolific screen star whose served as muse to filmmaker Luis Bunuel and was a leading man for Jean-Luc Godard, has died. He was 94. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II looks up and waves to members of staff of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office as she ends an official visit which is part of her Jubilee celebrations in London. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died on Thursday, Sept, 8, 2022. She was 96. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant Pool, File)
Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, whose unmistakable swagger in helping the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title earned him the nickname “Lenny the Cool,” died Aug. 24, 2022. He was 87. (AP/Anonymous)
Anne Heche
Anne Heche arrives at the 74th annual Directors Guild of America Awards on March 12, 2022, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Heche was in the hospital Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, following an accident in which her car smashed into a house and flames erupted, a representative for the actor told People magazine. The representative, who was not identified, told the magazine that Heche was in stable condition a day after Friday’s accident. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Actress and singer Olivia Newton-John attends the 2018 G’Day USA Los Angeles Gala in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2018. Newton-John, a longtime resident of Australia whose sales topped 100 million albums, died Monday at her southern California ranch, John Easterling, her husband, wrote on Instagram and Facebook. She was 73. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Vin Scully walks on stage to accept the Icon Award at the ESPYS at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. Vin Scully has won the second Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Baseball Digest. The Hall of Fame broadcaster, whose dulcet tones provided the soundtrack of summer while entertaining and informing Dodgers fans in Brooklyn and Los Angeles for 67 years, died Tuesday night, the team said. He was 94. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
FILE – Paul Sorvino arrives at the 29th annual Producers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Sorvino, an imposing actor who specialized in playing crooks and cops like Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas” and the NYPD sergeant Phil Cerretta on “Law & Order,” has died. He was 83. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Taurean Blacque, an Emmy-nominated actor who was known for his role as a detective on the 1980s NBC drama series “Hill Street Blues,” has died. He was 82. His family announced his death July 21, 2022. (Photo by NBC/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
The Delfonics, from left, Randy Cain, William “Poogie” Hart, and brother Wilbert Hart, perform at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s 14th annual Pioneer Awards in Philadelphia on June 29, 2006, where they received an award. Hart, a founder of the Grammy-winning trio, has died at age 77. His son Hadi told The New York Times that Hart died July 14, 2022, at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia from complications during surgery. (AP Photo/George Widman, File)
Ivana Trump
FILE – Ivana Trump poses before the Baby Phat spring 2008 collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, on Sept. 7, 2007. Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, has died in New York City, the former president announced on social media Thursday, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)
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Shinzo Abe
FILE – Then Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during his first press conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012. Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe, a divisive arch-conservative and one of his nation’s most powerful and influential figures, has died after being shot during a campaign speech Friday, July 8, 2022, in western Japan, hospital officials said. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File)
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FILE – St. Louis Cardinals football player Marlin Briscoe (86) is shown in August 1975. Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting quarterback in the American Football League, died Monday, June 27, 2022. His daughter, Angela Marriott, told The Associated Press that Briscoe, 76, died of pneumonia at a hospital in Norwalk, California. (AP Photo/File)
A.B. Yehoshua
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UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1970: Photo of Seals & Crofts. Jim Seals, who teamed with fellow musician “Dash” Crofts on such 1970s soft-rock hits as “Summer Breeze,” “Diamond Girl” and “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” has died at age 80. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images (Michael Ochs Archives)
Dallas Cowboys running back Marion Barber III (24) runs in for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter of an NFL football game Dec. 25, 2010, in Glendale, Ariz. Barber, who scored plenty of touchdowns without recording a 1,000-yard season, has died, the team said Wednesday, June 1, 2022. He was 38. Barber played a final season with Chicago in 2011 after spending his first six years with the Cowboys. (AP Photo/Paul Connors, File)
Ray Liotta
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Wendy Rieger anchoring the news at 5:00 p.m. from NBC 4 studios in Washington, D.C. At right is co-anchor Susan Kidd. (Photo by Susan Biddle/The The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried performs at a David Lynch Foundation Benefit for Veterans with PTSD on April 30, 2016, in New York. Gottfried’s publicist and longtime friend Glenn Schwartz said Gottfried, an actor and legendary standup comic known for his abrasive voice and crude jokes, died Tuesday, April 12, 2022. He was 67. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)
Bobby Rydell
Singer Bobby Rydell is shown aboard a luxury liner in New York City after arrival from Europe on March 12, 1962. Rydell, a pompadoured heartthrob of early rock ‘n roll who was a star of radio, television and the movie musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” died Tuesday, April 5, 2022. He was 79. (AP Photo, File)
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In this photo provided by Sesame Workshop, Emilio Delgado poses for a picture at Kaufman Astoria Studios while filming the 50th season of “Sesame Street,” in October 2018. Delgado, the actor and singer who for 45 years was a warm and familiar presence in children’s lives and a rare Latino face on American television as fix-it shop owner Luis on “Sesame Street,” died Thursday, March 10, 2022. He was 81. (Zach Hyman/Sesame Workshop via AP)
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Associated Press Pulitzer Prize-winning political journalist Walter R. Mears, shown March 12, 1999 in Washington. Mears, who for 45 years fluidly and speedily wrote the news about presidential campaigns and elections for The Associated Press and won a Pulitzer Prize doing it, has died. He was 87. (AP Photo, File)
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Gary Brooker, front man in the rock group Procol Harum, appears in London on Nov. 14, 2006. Gary Brooker, the Procol Harum frontman who sang one of the 1960s’ most enduring hits, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” has died. He was 76. The band said Brooker died at his home on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. He had been receiving treatment for cancer. (AP Photo/Max Nash, File)
P. J. O'Rourke
P. J. O’Rourke, author of “Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism”, speaks during panel discussion during a luncheon at the Book Expo America convention, Saturday, June 5, 2004, in Chicago. O’Rourke, the prolific author and satirist who re-fashioned the irreverence and “Gonzo” journalism of the 1960s counterculture into a distinctive brand of conservative and libertarian commentary, has died at age 74. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey, File)
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Comedian/actor Louie Anderson died on Jan. 21, 2022. He was 68. Anderson died at a hospital in Las Vegas of complications from cancer. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
American rock singer Meat Loaf died Jan. 20, 2022. He’s seen here performing in 1977. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Ronnie Spector appears in the press room after performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on March 15, 2010, in New York. Spector, the cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the girl group the Ronettes, has died. She was 78. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)
This undated photo provided by The Hickman Family Archives shows Dwayne Hickman. Hickman, the actor and network TV executive who despite numerous achievements throughout his life would always be remembered fondly by a generation of baby boomers for his role as Dobie Gillis, died Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. He was 87. (Courtesy of The Hickman Family Archives via AP)
Prolific “Full House” actor Bob Saget attending the “MacGruber” screening and premiere at the California Science Center on December 8, 2021 in Los Angeles. He died on January 9, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP)
Sidney Poitier, the groundbreaking actor and enduring inspiration who transformed how Black people were portrayed on screen, became the first Black actor to win an Academy Award for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw, died Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 in the Bahamas. He was 94. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 03:  Anita Pointer of the Pointer Sisters performs onstage at the Venice Family Clinic's 32nd Annual Silver Circle Gala held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 3, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for VFC)
Obit Leach Football
Obit Bob McGrath
Obit Jason David Frank
Obit Aaron Carter
Anne Heche
Ivana Trump
Shinzo Abe
A.B. Yehoshua
Ray Liotta
Orrin G. Hatch
Bobby Rydell
Walter Mears
Sally Kellerman
P. J. O'Rourke
Sesame Workshop tweeted Sunday evening that it “mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.”

McGrath was a founding cast member of “Sesame Street” when the show premiered in 1969, playing a friendly neighbor Bob Johnson. He made his final appearance on the show in 2017, marking an almost five-decade-long figure in the “Sesame Street” world.

The actor grew up in Illinois and studied music at the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music. He also was a singer in the 60s series “Sing Along With Mitch” and launched a successful singing career overseas in Japan.

“A revered performer worldwide, Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over,” Sesame Workshop said. “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.”

He is survived by his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, and their five children.


This story corrects that McGrath studied at the University of Michigan, not Maryland.

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