Bob McGath, an Original Sesame Street Cast Member, Died at the Age of 90
Bob McGrath, who played one of the first human characters on Sesame Street and was there the longest, died at the age of 90. On Sunday, his Facebook page said that McGrath had died.
“The McGrath family has terrible news to tell their Facebook friends. Our dad, Bob McGrath, died today. He died at home, with his family around him, at peace.”
McGrath was born in 1932 in Ottawa, Illinois. In 1954, he got his degree from the School of Music at the University of Michigan. After college, he was drafted into the Army and served for two years in Germany with the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra, where he booked shows and played music. In 1959, he went to the Manhattan School of Music and got a Master’s in Voice.
McGrath used his degree to be the featured tenor on Sing Along with Mitch, a community sing-along show with conductor Mitch Miller. The show ran for four seasons. McGrath later became a successful recording artist in Japan.
In 1969, McGrath, Loretta Long, Matt Robinson, and Will Lee were the first people to be on Sesame Street. McGrath played Bob Johnson, a friendly music teacher in the neighborhood, for more than 40 years.
Holly Robinson Peete paid tribute to McGrath by showing a scene she and her brother filmed with him when they were kids. Her father, Matt Robinson, played science teacher Gordon on the show and died in 2002.
“I met Bob McGrath for the first time in 1969 when my dad and he were both on Sesame Street,” Peete wrote on Instagram. “He was the person you’d seen on TV. The nicest, kindest, and the most thoughtful guy in the world. We met him first time when my brother and I went to Sesame Street for the first time. May you rest in peace, Bob McGrath. People from all over the world loved you.”
McGrath said that “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street,” a muppet version of “The Gift of the Magi,” and an episode from 1983 about the death of Mr. Hooper, played by Lee, were his two favorite Sesame Street episodes.
In 2016, Sesame Workshop said that McGrath and a few other longtime cast members would not be back for the show’s 47th season. However, McGrath continued to represent the Workshop at public events.
His wife Ann, who he married in 1958, and three daughters, two sons, and eight grandchildren all live on after him.
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