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44 years after joining the show, Sesame Street’s Maria is retiring

At the recent American Library Association Annual Conference, actress/author Sonia Manzano, who has played the beloved character Maria on Sesame Street for more than 40 years, let it be known that she’s retiring. (Manzano joined the show in 1971, and was promoted to series regular in 1974.) During her tenure on the show, Manzano was nominated twice for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series, but lost both times. As a Sesame Street scriptwriter, however, she had better luck, winning a total of 15 Emmy Awards. She and TV husband Luis also fixed countless toasters while co-running the bustling Fix-It Shop.

Manzano’s post-TV life already seems busy: She’s out promoting her forthcoming memoir, Becoming Maria: Love And Chaos In The South Bronx, as well as assuring distraught Twitter users that everything will be okay on Sesame Street after her departure. No word yet on how longtime pal Oscar The Grouch is handling the news.

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