Sesame Street Vet David Smyrl Dead at 80, Played Mr. Handford

David Smyrl, best known for his role as Sesame Street‘s Mr. Handford, died Tuesday, Philly.com reports. He was 80.

The writer, singer, voiceover artist and actor was diagnosed with lung cancer in January. He passed away at Lankenau Medical Center near his home in Philadelphia.

Smyrl first appeared on television in the 1970s program Express Yourself, before landing a gig writing for the ABC sitcom Benson. Later, he served as a writer and performer on The Cosby Show, portraying contractor Sam Lucas in five episodes between 1985 and 1987. In 1990, he succeeded actor Leonard Jackson as store owner Mr. Handford on Sesame Street, a role he played through 1998. Per IMDb, his last significant part came in a 2002 episode of ER. 

He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Pajil Smyrl, and stepson Pancho Scott.