Sesame Street Vet 'Maria' to Exit

She can tell you how to get, how to get to Sesame Street — but long-running character Maria, played by Sonia Manzano, won’t be traveling there herself next season.

The actress will retire after some 44 years on the show, she announced at the American Library Association Annual Conference this week.

Manzano, who made her first Sesame Street appearance in 1971, has racked up 15 Daytime Emmy awards (with five additional nominations) for Outstanding Writing in Children’s Programming — and was also nominated twice as Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series.

In addition to her work on the classic PBS kids’ show, Manzano is the author of the upcoming memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.

Manzano teased on Twitter that she’d consider going “back for 50th anniversary and [making] a guest appearance.” What’s more, she revealed, she has “always been in love with Oscar the Grouch.”

Saddened by news of Maria’s exit? Do you have fond memories of her Sesame Street work from your own childhood? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. edlowthegreat says:

    Bye Maria! U are a legacy in our home. I watched u and so did my kids! Enjoy retirement!

  2. A fan of TV says:

    Where is her daughter Gabby these days?

  3. DarthMeow says:

    She was my first love as a child happy retirement Maria😻

  4. GraceM says:

    Wow! I did not know she was still on the show after all these years. Happy retirement Maria!!!!

  5. Marianne says:

    I remember being excited about the wedding of Maria and Luis. I was 3, almost 4. I didn’t get the concept of actors at that time so I thought they really did get married and were in real life.

  6. french5851 says:

    I love her!!! Congrats to her on a long standing and admirable career!

  7. steven says:

    At least somebody is leaving Sesame Street by simply retiring and not being hit with a scandal.

    • Evan says:

      Did you ever catch the total irony Law & Order did when they did an episoded based off of the Kevin Clash story? They had Mrs. Manzano playing the judge in the case! I immediately knew who it was and went “Well that’s CTW actually saying something I’m sure.”

  8. KayCeeCee says:

    Thank you, Sonia Manzano! You were amazing as Maria! I still remember the romance and wedding between Maria and Luis.

  9. Lexi says:

    Sonia as Maria and as your own self you are pure class. You have an awesome retirement

  10. dee123 says:

    15 Emmys? Wow.

  11. Had the pleasure of meeting her and Gordon at a national PTA conference in Phoenix with my daughter who grew up with them. It was a highlight for us. As sweet in person, as she is on television. Love her! Vaya Con Dios, Maria!

  12. Daya says:

    I was sad when I saw the news, but I knew it was getting time for her to retire. Going out on a high note, though. <3