Big Bird and Kermit the Frog pay tribute to their ‘friend’ Bob McGrath
By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Big Bird and Kermit The Frog have remembered their human “friend” Bob McGrath, following his death aged 90.
The fictional duo posted separate tributes to the actor, musician and children’s author, remembering his “infectious joy” and ability to “make every day sunnier”.
McGrath was a member of the US children’s show for more than 50 years, and was known as one of its first non-Muppet regular characters.
He died peacefully at his home on Sunday, his family confirmed in a statement.
In a tweet posted from his official account, Kermit remembered the “wonderful times” they had shared on Sesame Street.
“There was no one quite like my friend Bob McGrath. His infectious joy and remarkable voice could make every day sunnier,” he wrote.
“I’ll always remember the wonderful times we shared on Sesame Street. Let’s all sing a song for Bob today.”
Sharing a picture of the two of them on set together, Big Bird tweeted: “Thank you for always being my friend, Bob. I love you.”
McGrath was a founding cast member when Sesame Street premiered in 1969, playing Bob Johnson, a friendly neighbour to puppet characters including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Elmo.
He made his final appearance in 2017, marking an almost five-decade-long career in the Sesame Street world.
A statement shared on his official Facebook said: “The McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father Bob McGrath, passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”
A statement from Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organisation behind the show, said: “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 neighbourhood, 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 honoured that he shared so much of his life with us.”
McGrath, who grew up in Illinois and studied music at the University of Michigan, was also a singer in the 60s series Sing Along With Mitch and launched a successful music career in Japan.
US actress Holly Robinson Peete, the daughter of Sesame Street actor and producer Matt Robinson, also shared a tribute to McGrath on social media.
She said: “This news has me wrecked! I first met Bob McGrath in 1969 when my father and him starred together on #SesameStreet. He was the guy you saw on TV.
“The nicest, sweetest, kindest man. The first time my brother and I got to be on Sesame Street we had this scene with him. Rest in peace, Bob McGrath. You were so loved all over the world.”
McGrath is survived by his wife, Ann Logan Sperry, and their five children.