Bob McGrath Dies: Tributes Pour In for ‘Sesame Street’ Star

Bob McGrath on 'Sesame Street'
Everett Collection

Bob McGrath, the actor and musician best known for playing the original human character Bob Johnson on the long-running children’s show Sesame Street, has died. He was 90.

The actor’s family confirmed McGrath’s passing on his official Facebook page on Sunday, December 4, writing, “Our father, Bob McGrath, passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.” A cause of death has not been revealed as of writing.

McGrath appeared in the 1969 pilot of the beloved kid’s program and went on to become a series regular, starring in 45 seasons. He eventually exited the show in 2016. Alongside series matriarch Susan Robinson (Loretta Long), McGrath was one of the two longest-lasting human characters on the series since the show’s debut.

He also contributed many original songs to the series, including “People in Your Neighborhood,” “Sing a Song,” “If You’re Happy And You Know It,” and the show’s iconic theme song.

“I first met Bob McGrath in 1969 when he & my Dad Matt starred on Sesame Street. He was the nicest, sweetest, kindest man,” tweeted , who appeared on the show as a child and whose late father, Matt Robinson, also starred in the original series. “Rest in peace, Bob McGrath. You were so loved all over the world. Say hello to my pops.”

Others also shared their tributes, including Vanessa Williams, who played the Queen of Trash in the 1999 film The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. “RIP Dear Teacher!” she wrote.

“He lived to be 90, that is a good, long life but maaan… losing the heroes of my childhood still hurts every time,” added Community star, Yvette Nicole Brown. Meanwhile, Shrinking actor Matt Knudsen tweeted, “Oh man, RIP Bob McGrath. Our childhood wouldn’t have been the same without him.”

While he hadn’t recorded any new material for Sesame Street since Season 45, McGrath returned for the 2019 TV special Sesame Street’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. He also continued to work with Sesame Workshop, appearing at public events and serving as a spokesperson for educational programming for children.

Check out more tributes below.

Sesame Street Season 53, Thursdays, HBO Max and PBS