Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on the classic TV show Sesame Street for 44 years, has announced that she is leaving the show.
On the show she played the character of Maria, a shopkeeper at the Fix-It Shop, joining the cast in 1971. Her character went on to marry Luis, the owner of the shop, their wedding taking place in the finale of the 19th season of Sesame Street, in 1998.
Prior to joining the TV show’s cast Sonia attended New York’s High School of Performing Arts, the same school featured in the 1980 film Fame, and starred in the original production of Godspell.
— billboard (@billboard) July 2, 2015
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organisation that makes the show, released the following statement:
Sonia Manzano has announced her retirement from ‘Sesame Street,’ but she will always be a part of the fabric of our neighborhood. During her 44-year career as the iconic ‘Maria,’ and the first leading Latina woman on television, she was a role model for young girls and women for generations. Sonia’s talents on ‘Sesame Street’ extend beyond her groundbreaking role on camera; she also earned 15 Emmy awards as a member of ‘Sesame Street’s’ writing team. We’ll always be grateful for her many years on Sesame Street as a champion of diversity and helping millions of kids grow up smarter, stronger and kinder.
Sonia’s autobiography Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is set to be released soon.
Here, in a scene from the much-loved show, Maria and the Cookie Monster talk about healthy food.
Do you through your children and grandchildren have fond memories of watching Sesame Street together?
Image credit: Walter Lim