Bob McGrath is dead: ‘Sesame Street’ star was 90

Bob McGrathan actor and recording artist who became an icon for generations as one of the original human stars in the “Sesame StreetDied Sunday. He was 90 years old.

McGrath’s death was confirmed by his family members through a post on his Facebook page: “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.”

Sesame Workshop shared a statement mourning the “beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.”

“Bob has embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no other, and his performances have brought delight and wonder to generations of children around the world, whether it’s teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the joy of feeling the music in their hearts,” reads Sesame Workshop’s statement. “A respected performer around the world, Bob’s rich music has filled the 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.”

Debuting in the 1969 pilot series, McGrath played friendly neighbor Bob Johnson as a mainstay of “Sesame Street” across five decades and 47 seasons of television broadcasts. His last appearance in the series came in 2017, but McGrath did not stray from his association with the series after that, and continued to appear publicly at various events related to “Sesame Street.”

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During his time on the series, McGrath appeared in many of the show’s most iconic sequences, including musical performances for “People in Your Neighborhood”.

Besides the TV series, McGrath has been one of the most prominent human faces of the property across various films, video games, and feature-length musical productions.

Born on June 13, 1932, in Ottawa, Illinois, McGrath studied music at the University of Michigan and, later, at the Manhattan School of Music. McGrath married his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, in 1958.

Entering the world of entertainment, he debuted in 1962 as a singer with the PG-rated Mitch Miller Band. Miller had a hit TV series and a series of records under the “Sing Along With Mitch” banner featuring healthy singers delivering pop standards. McGrath also appeared with the Miller Band in residency at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas during the summer of 1964. At a time when Beatlemania was sweeping the nation, McGrath was performing “Danny Boy” and “On the Street Where You Live” at the Vegas Showroom.

By the mid-1960s, McGrath was actively pursuing a solo recording career in addition to acting. In 1966 he signed with Japan’s Nippon Columbia label, Columbia Records. For some time, McGrath performed regularly in Japan.

In 1969, McGrath landed his iconic role on “Sesame Street,” which has been a pop culture force since its debut on the fledgling PBS network in November 1969.

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