Legendary ‘Sesame Street’ Actor Emilio Delgado, Who Played Luis For 45 Years, Has Died At Age 81

The Mexican-American actor was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2020.

Emilio Delgado attends a special screening for the HBO Documentary Film "Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street" at Symphony Space on December 10, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

Emilio Delgado, the Mexican-American actor best known for his role of 45 years as Luis on Sesame Street died on Thursday. He was 81 years old. The character Luis was the singing owner of the neighborhood Fix-It Shop. Sesame Workshop confirmed the news via a statement, according to TODAY. “A beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years, his warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations,” the company shared. “At the forefront of representation, Emilio proudly laid claim to the ‘record for the longest-running role for a Mexican-American in a TV series.’ We are so grateful he shared his talents with us and with the world.”


“We are saddened by the news of Emilio’s passing,” Robert Attermann, the CEO of A3 Artists Agency, told the outlet in a statement. “Emilio was an immense talent who brought so much joy and smiles to his fans. He will be missed by many and we know his legacy will live on. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, including his wife, Carole.” His wife told The Associated Press that he died from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, at their home in New York, according to CBS News.


Delgado also made appearances in Hawaii Five-O, Quincy, Police Story, and I Will Fight No More Forever. Some of his other TV and film credits include The Get Down, House of Cards, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: SVU, A Case of You, and The Michael J. Fox Show. But his most popular stint has been on The Sesame Street. Delgado made his debut on the popular series in 1971 for its third season and remained a series regular until 2016. The series had a diverse cast along with Jim Henson creations like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo, and Grover. Delgado played an ordinary, non-stereotypical Latino character at a time when such portrayals were not that common. 


Delgado told The Houston Chronicle, “I’d been trying all my professional life to be somewhere I can change that, whether I was talking about it or trying to get into a project that showed Latinos in a good light. That’s why Sesame Street was such a good thing. For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings. We weren’t dope addicts. We weren’t maids or prostitutes, which were the way we were being shown in television in film. Here, on Sesame Street, there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans.” RIP.