Bob McGrath, an original cast member of “Sesame Street” who portrayed friendly music teacher Bob Johnson for over four decades, has died. He was 90.
The Sesame Workshop confirmed McGrath’s death in a statement shared with USA TODAY and on Twitter on Sunday.
“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years,” the statement read. “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 Illinois-born actor was a veteran of the children’s series and was one of the four non-Muppet characters when the show first premiered on Nov. 10, 1969.
The Sesame Workshop added on Twitter that McGrath was a “revered performer worldwide.”
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“Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over,” the statement read. “We will forever be 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’s family shared a statement on the late actor’s Facebook page on Sunday writing they had “some sad news to share.”
“Our father Bob McGrath passed away today,” the statement read. “He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”
McGrath sang many iconic songs for the show including “Sing, Sing a Song” and “The People in Your Neighborhood.”
McGrath stayed on the show for the first 46 seasons, sharing scenes with characters like Oscar the Grouch, voiced by Caroll Spinney. In 2016 it was announced McGrath, Emilio Delgado (Luis) and Roscoe Orman (Gordan) would not return for season 47.
Delgado died in March two years after a blood cancer diagnosis.
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“I have completed my 45th season this year,” McGrath said at the time. “And the show has gone under a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has gotten involved also. And they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young.”
McGrath was born on June 13, 1932, in Ottawa, Ill. He studied music at the University of Michigan and the Manhattan School of Music. He married Ann Logan Sperry in 1958.
He sang on Mitch Miller’s ’60s series “Sing Along With Mitch” and then made his acting debut on “Sesame Street.”