Sonia Manzano to Retire After 44 Years on ‘Sesame Street’

Sesame Street” is losing one of its most recognizable faces.

Sonia Manzano, who played Maria on the long-running PBS children’s show, is retiring 44 years after joining the series, she said at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

Manzano first appeared on “Sesame Street” in 1971, and was upped to a series regular in 1974. Manzano, with TV-husband Luis, are known to “Sesame Street” viewers for running the Fix-It Shop, which specializes in toaster repair.

Along with acting on the show, Manzano also served as a writer. She won 15 Emmys for her writing work on the show, and was nominated twice for her acting. Manzano also has a memoir releasing soon, “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.”

“Sonia Manzano has announced her retirement from ‘Sesame Street,’ but she will always be a part of the fabric of our neighborhood” said Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the show, said in a statement on Thursday. “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.”

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