Bob McGrath, an American actor and singer best known for his role in Sesame Street, passed away on Sunday 4 December, age 90. The actor was born in Illinois and studied music at the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music before beginning a career as a recording artist.
He joined the cast of Sesame Street in the first ever episode and is now best known for his role in the children’s educational series. McGrath married his wife Ann in 1958, they had five children, five granddaughters, and three grandsons together. McGrath died in his home in New Jersey, aged 90, and is survived by his wife and children. His cause of death has not been confirmed.
Who did Bob McGrath play in Sesame Street?
McGrath played Bob Johnson on Sesame Street, appearing in 460 episodes between 1969 and 2016. He also reprised the role for the 2019 50th anniversary special. He was one of the longest-running characters on the show.
Bob Johnson, one of Sesame Street’s human characters - he was a music teacher who debuted in the show’s very first episode. He lived in an apartment above Hooper’s store with his cat, and has a sister who lives in the mountains and a brother who works as an architect. Bob had a long-running relationship with Linda, another human character in the series, who worked as a librarian.
McGrath also features in several Sesame Street spin-offs and TV movies including Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, Big Bird’s Story Time, Sesame Street Jam, and Ready for School. McGrath was written out of the series in 2016, but Sesame Workshop announced that the actor would continue to represent the show.
What else has Bob McGrath been in?
McGrath was the featured tenor on Mitch Miller’s NBC-TV television singalong series Sing Along with Mitch from 1960 to 1964. He also featured on the Walt Kelly album Songs of the Pogo.
McGrath became well-known in Japan after releasing several successful Japanese language Irish albums. He appeared as a contestant on the 1960s game shows I’ve Got a Secret, and To Tell the Truth. He also appeared on In Their Own Words, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and UP2U.
Outside of Sesame Street, McGrath only has one screen credit to his name, appearing in an uncredited role as a radio singer in the 2007 western remake 3:10 to Yuma.
What tributes have been left to Bob McGrath?
The Sesame Workshop Twitter account tweeted on Sunday: “Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of Bob McGrath, a beloved member of the Sesame Street family for over 50 years.
“A founding cast member, Bob embodied the melodies of Sesame Street like no one else, and his performances brought joy and wonder to generations of children around the world. Whether teaching them the ABCs, the people in their neighborhood, or the simple joy of feeling music in their hearts.
“A revered performer worldwide, Bob’s rich tenor filled airwaves and concert halls from Las Vegas to Saskatchewan to Tokyo many times over. 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.”