Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sonia Manzano, María on "Sesame Street", Retires

This blog is brought to you today by the letters S and M and by the number 44.

Sonia Manzano, known to many in the United States as María Figueroa on the long-running PBS children's television series "Sesame Street" is retiring after being on the program for just over 44 years. The program, created by Joan Ganz Cooney in 1969, also helped popularize Jim Henson's Muppets. and Manzano joined the show two years later, in 1971. Also joining the cast that year was HOLA member Emilio Delgado, who plays Luis Rodríguez. Their characters dated over time and married in 1988, becoming parents to a daughter, named Gabriela (named after Manzano's real-life daughter Gabriella). Manzano and Delgado received the HOLA Ilka Award from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors in 2005 for their work in educating children through "Sesame Street"

With Emilio Delgado at
the 2005 HOLA Awards.
Manzano was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. She then branched out into writing for the series, and as part of the "Sesame Street" writing staff, she has received 15 Emmy Awards. In addition, her children's book No Dogs Allowed was published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing in 2004. The book has also been successfully adapted as a stage musical (which starred HOLA members Javier E. Gómez, Mike Smith Rivera and Juan Villarreal).

In addition to "Sesame Street", she has a recurring role as Judge Gloria Pepitone on the long-running NBC television series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and as the title character in the Adel L. Morales film short Missing Grandma (which most recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival). She will soon release her memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx. This is a followup to her award-winning novel The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. For more information about the magnificent Sonia Manzano, click here.

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