Bob McGrath, an actor and musician best known for being one of the original human stars of “Sesame Street“, died Sunday. He was 90.
McGrath’s family confirmed his death in a statement shared to 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, re-tweeting a post 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 melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world,” the post continued. “Whether teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts. A revered performer worldwide, Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over.”
“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 made his debut on the long-running TV series back in 1969, during its pilot episode. Starring as friendly neighbor Bob Johnson, McGrath became a ‘Sesame Street’ staple, appearing on the show for five decades and 47 seasons.’
…whether teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts. 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 (@SesameWorkshop) December 5, 2022
His final series appearance came in 2017, but McGrath still remained in the “Sesame Street” universe, continuing to make public appearances at various events tied to the TV show.
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 show’s theme song. He was also one of “Sesame Street”‘s most prominent human faces, appearing in various film, video game and sing-a-long productions for the show.
Born in 1932 in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath studied music at the University of Michigan and, later, the Manhattan School of Music. He married his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, in 1958, and stepped into entertainment in the ’60s as a singer on 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 home at “Sesame Street” in 1969.
McGrath is survived by his wife, his three daughters and two sons, and eight grandchildren.
See fans’ reactions to his death below.
RIP, Bob McGrath. You will always have a place of honor in my home. pic.twitter.com/0DD4huuvxW
— Granny Beaver (@billydbeaver) December 4, 2022
RIP Bob McGrath. He was a HUGE part of my childhood on Sesame Street. You always know this day is coming, but it still hurts. One of the greats. #SesameStreet pic.twitter.com/ZGSKyp9Ma3
— 🛸 Scully, it’s me (@neednewshorts) December 5, 2022
This one hurts a lot. RIP Bob and thank you for being such a force of positivity in not only my life, but that of my son. https://t.co/oLZKFTRy04
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) December 5, 2022
My earliest memories of watching @WXXIrochester were all Sesame Street.
RIP, Bob McGrath pic.twitter.com/qoiC2eDPhW
— Scott Fybush (@scottfybush) December 4, 2022
#RIP Bob McGrath (1932–2022). To so many of us, he’s always going to be our old friend “Bob from Sesame Street.” https://t.co/YM6LhGEPFB 🖤 pic.twitter.com/ZyOtxqoL9I
— Daily Grindhouse (@DailyGrindhouse) December 4, 2022
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