One of Sesame Street's favorite residents is moving on! Sonia Manzano, who has played the role of Maria since her debut in 1971, is retiring, which means Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are losing a best friend!
The 65-year-old actress announced her departure from the popular children's show during her address at the American Library Association Annual Conference on Tuesday, June 30.
Manzano first joined the series in 1971, playing the role of teenager Maria who had just got a job at the local library.
Growing up on the show, Manzano progressed to becoming a writer for the series and earned 15 Daytime Emmy Awards for that job, as part of the Sesame Street writing staff.
News of her departure was greeted with great nostalgia and sadness from fans of the show.
— Anais Blin (@AnaisBlin) June 30, 2015
Happy retirement to Sonia Manzano. Sonia and Loretta Long were the first people I saw on Saturday mornings as a kid. Thank y'all so much! xo
— Jenny Johnson (@JennyJohnsonHi5) July 2, 2015
Just read that Maria is retiring from SESAME STREET. After all these years, I still have a crush on that woman. Thanks, Sonia Manzano!
— Tom Cherry (@cherryflavored) July 2, 2015
Manzano retweeted fans' messages and hinted she may be back for a 50th anniversary guest appearance.
"Youll be missed on SS!!," one Spanish Twitter user wrote to the retiring actress. "I would love to see you on season 50 to conmemorate the show!! kisses from Spain!"
"Maybe I'll go back for 50th anniversary and make a guest appearance! Gracias!" Manzano replied.
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