Sonia Manzano, the actress/writer who played Maria on “Sesame Street,” is retiring after 44 years on the PBS children’s show.
Manzano won 15 Emmys for her writing work on the series and was nominated twice for her acting.
The actress first appeared on “Sesame Street” in 1971, but became a series regular in 1974.
Her character was considered to be groundbreaking because it taught children about Hispanic culture.
One of the first Latinas on TV, she literally grew up on the show. When she started, she was “María Figueroa,” a teenager with a part-time job at the library.
As she grew up, she got married on TV to another “Sesame Street” character. All those milestones in the show followed those in her real life.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she explains her work on the long-running series has been personal: “When I fell in love, Maria fell in love; when I got pregnant, Maria got pregnant.”
Her memoir “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx,” will be released in September.