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Beloved original 'Sesame Street' cast member Bob McGrath dies

The actor and singer played Bob Johnson on the long-running children’s show for 47 seasons.
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Bob McGrath, who delighted “Sesame Street” viewers in the role of Bob Johnson for 47 seasons, has died at the age of 90.

A tweet posted by Sesame Workshop's official Twitter account on Sunday, Dec. 4, announced the "beloved" actor and singer's death."Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years," read a series of tweets from the non-profit organization that produces “Sesame Street.” "A founding cast member, 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 message praised the "revered performer" and went on to note, "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."

Born on June 13, 1932, in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath performed as a tenor on NBC’s “Sing Along With Mitch” in 1960. He first appeared as “Sesame Street’s” resident music teacher nine years later, on the show’s pilot episode.

Over the course the series, he established himself as a beloved fixture and lent his voice to many of the TV series most memorable songs.

Image: FILE: "Sesame Street" Star Bob McGrath Dies At 90
"Sesame Street" hosts Matt Robinson (Gordon), Will Lee (Mr. Hooper) Loretta Long (Susan) and Bob McGrath (Bob) stand with Big Bird in a promotional still on the set of the educational public television series, circa 1969. Getty Images

Fans of the late star took to social media to share their love for McGrath and their grief in the wake of his death.

DJ, filmmaker and co-founder of The Roots Questlove tweeted, “Bob McGrath. LEGEND. Spent his life educating all of us. @sesamestreet Thank you for a lifetime of service. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾"

In a message of his own, “Kid in the Hall” actor and comedian Dave Foley wrote, “Bob McGrath has died and a lovely part of my childhood leaves with him. His work on on Sesame Street showed me that a grownup man could be gentle and kind. Knowing that it could be true made me think that it should be true. Thanks Bob.”

And Holly Robinson Peete, daughter of another “Sesame Street” original cast member, Matt Robinson, who played Gordon Robinson during the show’s early years, tweeted, "My heart is broken that we’ve lost Bob McGrath💔…Rest In Peace, Bob! …Joining Will Lee (Mr Hooper) & Daddy (Gordon) in Sesame Street Heaven where the air is sweet…🙏🏾 "

Other fans pained by the loss of McGrath can turn to his words for comfort. In 1983, when “Sesame Street’s” young viewers learned that the character Mr. Hooper (and star Will Lee) had died, McGrath’s character helped them cope by speaking candidly about grief in an exchange with Big Bird. 

“It’ll never be the same around here without him," he said. "But you know something? We can all be very happy that we had a chance to be with him and to know him and to love him a lot when he was here."