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Maria Will Be Leaving “Sesame Street” After 44 Years

Sonia Manzano, who plays Maria on Sesame Street, will be retiring after 44 years on the show. Sesame Street premiered in 1969 and from the beginning had a diverse cast. Manzano started playing Maria in 1971 as a teenager. Since then she has been a fixture of the show. Manzano later became a writer for the show and incorporated life events like her pregnancy into the show. Who can forget the wedding of Maria and Luis? I know I remember that vividly. Manzano won 15 Emmy awards and has authored two children’s books as well as working on Broadway and TV on her off-time from the show. She is a true icon of what a Latina can accomplish in the media, a true trailblazer.

One of the amazing things about Sesame Street is that it had a cast that reflected the reality of the American populace, especially in the inner city where Sesame Street takes place. Think about what TV looked like in 1969. It was all shows like the Brady Bunch. It was lilly white. Sesame Street was one of the first TV shows to show African-Americans, Whites, and Latinos all living together and being friends. Representation is important and I remember when I was a kid being comforted in seeing Latinos like me on the screen. Manzano will definitely be missed.

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