By Dan Heching and Chris Boyette, CNN
Bob McGrath, an actor who played the friendly neighbor Bob Johnson as an original cast member of the beloved children’s program “Sesame Street,” has died, according to statements from his family and Sesame Workshop shared on social media.
He was 90.
“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 family statement shared on Facebook read.
The Sesame Workshop paid tribute to McGrath’s nearly five decades on the show in a thread on Twitter.
“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 statement read in part. “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.”
McGrath appeared in the “Sesame Street” pilot in 1969 and went on to work on 47 seasons of the show, departing the series in 2017 but still representing it at various events in recent years.
McGrath, who was an accomplished tenor and musician, performed in “concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over,” according to Sesame Workshop. He helped make several of “Sesame Street’s” best known songs — like “People in Your Neighborhood” and “Sing a Song” — memorable childhood staples.
“Sesame Street” cast member Alan Muraoka paid tribute to the man he called his “role model.”
“Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me: a role model, a mentor, a friend. His kindness and wicked sense of humor were such a joy, and I loved him so much,” Muraoka wrote on Instagram. “Rest well my friend. You did good.”
“You can’t help but be influenced by all of the wonderful research and good messages that are shown on ‘Sesame Street,'” McGrath said in a 2015 interview about some of his takeaways from being on the landmark program. “I learned how important it is to listen, really listen, carefully to what your children have to say.”
McGrath, a father to five and a grandfather, is survived by his wife Ann Logan Sperry.
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