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Emilio Delgado, Who Played Luis on 'Sesame Street,' Dies at Age 81

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A hispanic man in a flannel shirt
Emilio Delgado, who played Luis on 'Sesame Street,' died at the age of 81. (Children's Television Workshop)

Emilio Delgado, the Mexican American actor who played the character Luis on Sesame Street for 40 years, died Thursday at his home in New York City after a battle with blood cancer. Delgado was 81.

Delgado died surrounded by family, according to his wife Carol, who spoke with TMZ. Delago had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2020, and recently was in hospice care.

Delgado joined Sesame Street in 1971, debuting as Luis the handyman and owner of the “Fix-It Shop.” Later on the show, Luis married Maria, played by Sonia Manzano, and the two were instrumental in introducing Hispanic culture to Sesame Street viewers. (Manzano retired from the show in 2015.)

In 2016, Delgado along with Roscoe Gorman (“Gordon”) and Bob McGrath (“Bob”) were let go from Sesame Street as part of the show’s retooling after being acquired by HBO, as first reported online by KQED Arts. Reaction by longtime fans and PBS viewers was swift; the three actors were subsequently invited to take part in the show on a per-episode basis.

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Delgado’s character Luis was also known for one of Sesame Street’s signature songs, “Sing,” in which he sang a verse in Spanish.

A stage actor, Delgado was recently seen on the Bay Area stage in Cal Shakes’ 2018 production of Quixote Nuevo, and adaptation of Don Quixote.

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