Sesame Street was an integral part of our childhood, with characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, and the Cookie Monster teaching us a great many things in life, which is why the death of original cast member Bob McGrath has resulted in tributes pouring in from around the globe.
McGrath, who was 90 at the time of his death, appeared in the Sesame Street pilot in 1969 and went on to work on 47 seasons of the show as Bob Johnson. He left the series in 2017 but continued to represent it at various events.
In a 2015 interview, McGrath said: “You can’t help but be influenced by all of the wonderful research and good messages that are shown on Sesame Street.”
“I learned how important it is to listen, really listen, carefully to what your children have to say,” he added.
“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 shared on Facebook.
The Sesame Workshop paid tribute to McGrath’s nearly five decades on the show in a thread on Twitter, saying: “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.”
They added: “We will be forever grateful for his many years of passionate and creative contributions to the programme and are honoured that he shared so much of his life with us.”
The Sesame Workshop has shared that McGrath helped make several of Sesame Street’s best known songs, like People in Your Neighbourhood and Sing a Song.
Fellow Sesame Street cast member Alan Muraoka called McGrath his role model, sharing: “Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me; a role model, a mentor, a friend. His kindness and wicked sense of humour were such a joy, and I loved him so much.”
Music publicist Eric Alper said: “Bob McGrath, one of the nicest people in the Sesame Street neighbourhood, has died at the age of 90. He was one of the original four non-Muppet cast members that we met each day when the show started in 1969, and he will be sadly missed.”
“The best children’s TV performers just gently work their way into your heart as a kid, to the extent that their passing can stop you in your tracks even when you’re on the wrong side of 40. And Sesame Street’s Bob was among the best of the best,” journalist Paul Faulkner tweeted.
Meanwhile, Twitter user Dan Wuori shared: “Bob McGrath of Sesame Street, who passed away on Sunday at age 90, was one of the most influential adults in my early childhood; as much a teacher as any I had in a classroom. If you can still sing every word, please share in his memory.”