Bob McGrath, original 'Sesame Street' star, dies at 90

Sesame Street star Bob McGrath (pictured in 2013) has died at age 90. (Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Sesame Street star Bob McGrath (pictured in 2013) has died at age 90. (Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Bob McGrath, an actor and singer who played human "Bob Johnson" on Sesame Street for more than 40 years, has died. He was 90 years old.

McGrath's family announced his death on Sunday, Dec. 4 in a Facebook post.

"The McGrath family has some sad news to share," the post read. "Our father Bob McGrath passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family."

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Sesame Street star Alan Muraoka was among those posting tributes to McGrath, who had returned for the show's 50th anniversary special in 2019.

"Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me: a role model, a mentor, a friend," wrote Muraoka, who has played shopkeeper Alan since 1998. "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."

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Prior to joining Sesame Street as an original cast member in 1969, McGrath was a singer who enjoyed international success and a featured tenor on the NBC show Sing Along with Mitch from 1960 to 1964. But the groundbreaking PBS children's series introduced him to generations of new fans, with McGrath remaining one of the show's two longest-lasting stars (Loretta Long, best known as Susan Robinson, being the other). After 47 years, it was announced that McGrath was leaving the beloved show, though he continued to represent the brand in online videos and other projects, including the 50th anniversary special and the 2021 documentary, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.

Married to wife Ann since 1958, McGrath was a father of five who turned 90 in June.

McGrath (right) with cast members Matt Robinson (Gordon), Will lee (Mr. Hooper) and Loretta Long (Susan) circa 1969. (Photo: Children's Television Workshop/Courtesy of Getty Images)
McGrath (right) with cast members Matt Robinson (Gordon), Will lee (Mr. Hooper) and Loretta Long (Susan) circa 1969. (Photo: Children's Television Workshop/Courtesy of Getty Images)