Imagine having a neighbor for 45 years and then suddenly they move away. That is what 65-year old actress Sonia Manzano is doing as she announced recently that she will not return for another season of Sesame Street. Manzano has played Marie on the children's series since 1971. She made the announcement at American Libraries Association's annual conference.
Manzano spent three years appearing on the series before becoming a regular. She was also a writer and has shared in their 15 Emmy Awards. Her character of Maria has grown over the years having started out as a Puerto Rican teenager working at a lending library, then moving on to a fix-it shop with the shows' handyman Luis. She went on to be married and have a child named Gabby that was originally played by Manzano's own daughter Gabriela.
Sesame Workshop confirmed her retirement and made this statement:
She will always be a part of the fabric of our neighborhood. During her 44-year career as the iconic Maria, and the first leading Latina woman on television, she was a role model for young girls and women for generations.
— American Libraries (@amlibraries) June 29, 2015