We are sad to report that Bob McGrath, one of the original human cast members of the long-running children’s program Sesame Street, has died at the age of 90.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, his family issued a statement on the actor/singer’s social media accounts, stating that he passed away “peacefully at home, surrounded by his family,” on Sunday, December 4.
A native of Illinois, McGrath had a moderate following as a chorus member on the NBC program Sing Along With Mitch and with a recurring gig in Japan before landing the role of music teacher Bob Johnson on Sesame Street. He debuted during the show’s pilot episode in 1969, along with Loretta Long (as Nurse Susan Robinson), Matt Robinson (as science teacher Gordon Robinson) and Will Lee (as store owner Mr. Hooper).
During his tenure on the show, McGrath provided some of Sesame Street‘s most memorable tunes, including “Sing a Song” and “People In Your Neighborhood,” which are still popular with today’s audiences. Another memorable moment, one of McGrath’s favorites, was the episode addressing the death of store owner Mr. Hooper. This episode mirrored the real-life passing of cast member Lee, who died of a heart attack in 1982.
“On recording day, we rehearsed everything for several hours, totally dry with no emotion, just saying the words,” he recalled. “When it was time to go to tape, we filmed with full, raw emotions, which were very difficult to contain. We were barely able to keep it together, with tears in our eyes, because we were really reliving Will’s wonderful life on Sesame Street for all of those years.
“When we finished filming, [writer-director] Jon Stone wanted to redo one little section. We got about two minutes into the segment before Jon told us to forget it. We couldn’t take it, we were all just breaking up. So what you see in the episode is the first and only take of that whole show.”
McGrath would go on to appear on the show for a whopping 47 seasons, as well as several specials and feature films, until his retirement from acting in 2016. Even after that, he would continue his working relationship with Sesame Workshop, appearing at several public events as an advocate.
McGrath leaves behind his wife, Ann, and five children.
Bob McGrath, Original “Sesame Street” Cast Member, Dies at 90 was originally published on foxync.com
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