Bob McGrath, Original ‘Sesame Street’ Star, Dies at 90

Bob McGrath, a member of the original cast of “Sesame Street” and who was on the beloved children’s show for 47 seasons, has died at the age of 90, according to a Facebook post from his family.

McGrath appeared as himself on the show’s pilot in 1969 and remained on the show until his retirement in 2017. During his run on the show, McGrath performed many of its most famous songs, including “People in Your Neighborhood” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”

The Sesame Workshop mourned McGrath’s passing as a beloved member of the Sesame Street family. “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. 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.”

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McGrath’s fellow “Sesame Street” castmember Alan Muraoka wrote in a touching Facebook post, accompanied by a photo of the two. “Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me: a role model, a mentor, a friend,” he wrote. “His kindness and wicked sense of humor were such a joy, and I loved him so much. We all gathered in July to wish him a happy 90th birthday, and that was the last time Herb and I saw him. Rest well my friend. You did good. #alanathoopers #sesamestreet #bobmcgrath #restinpeace #icon.

Born in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath earned a music degree from the University of Michigan, where he sang in the university’s glee club. Prior to joining “Sesame Street,” he performed alongside Mitch Miller on the NBC TV series “Sing Along With Mitch” and became a best-selling recording artist in Japan by singing folk songs in Japanese. His work overseas led to appearances on the game shows “To Tell the Truth” and “I’ve Got a Secret.”

Along with the main PBS series, McGrath appeared in various “Sesame Street” computer games, movies and specials, including the feature film “Follow That Bird.” Even after leaving the show, he continued to appear at events held by Sesame Workshop to promote children’s education.

McGrath is survived by his wife, Ann, along with five children and eight grandchildren.