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)
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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)
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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)
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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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Kirstie Alley
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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)
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Obit Jason David Frank
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Obit Aaron Carter
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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)
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Dawson
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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)
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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)
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Ivana Trump
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Shinzo Abe
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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)
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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
Kirstie Alley
Obit Bob McGrath
Obit Jason David Frank
Obit Aaron Carter
Dawson
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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