Before “Sesame Street,” Bob McGrath was a popular recording artist in Japan, performing songs in English and Japanese.


Bob McGrath, an actor, musician and children’s author widely known for his portrayal of one of the first regular characters on the children’s show “Sesame Street,” has died at the age of 90.

McGrath’s passing was confirmed by his family, who posted on his Facebook page on Sunday: “The McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father Bob McGrath passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”

Sesame Workshop tweeted Sunday evening that it “mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.”

McGrath was a founding cast member of “Sesame Street” when the show premiered in 1969, playing friendly neighbor Bob Johnson. He made his final appearance on the show in 2017, marking an almost five-decade-long figure in the “Sesame Street” world.

The actor grew up in Illinois and studied music at the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music. He also was a singer in the ’60s series “Sing Along With Mitch” and launched a successful singing career overseas in Japan.

“A revered performer worldwide, Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over,” Sesame Workshop said. “We will be forever grateful for his many years of passionate creative contributions to Sesame Street and honored that he shared so much of his life with us.”

He is survived by his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, and their five children.

“Sesame Street” cast member Alan Muraoka posted this photo on Facebook with the following message: “I had the honor of knowing and working with Bob McGrath for the past 25 years. That’s a lot of memories, some of which I am sharing here now. Here’s to the life of a great man who did great things. An icon, an educator, a role model and a friend. Love you Bobu.”

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