Lloyd Morrisett, co-creator of the popular children’s television series “Sesame Street”, has died. He was 93 years old.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind ‘Sesame Street,’ has shared the news of Morrisett’s death in a tweet on Monday and confirmed his death to USA TODAY via email. A cause of death was not given.
“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett,” the organization wrote alongside a photo of Morrisett posing with a Muppet. “Lloyd leaves a boundless and indelible legacy among generations of children around the world, with ‘Sesame Street’ only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact.”
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Born in 1929 in Oklahoma City, Morrisett initially trained as a teacher with a background in psychology. After earning her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, Morrisett did graduate work in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, according to the official Sesame Workshop website, later earning a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Yale.
In 1968, Morrisett co-founded the nonprofit Children’s Television Workshop (later renamed Sesame Workshop) with former publicist Joan Ganz Cooney, who called Morrisett a “trusted partner and loyal friend” in a statement shared by Sesame Workshop via Twitter on Monday.
Morrisett and Cooney worked with Harvard University developmental psychologist Gerald Lesser to develop the show’s unique approach to teaching that now reaches 120 million children. Legendary puppeteer Jim Henson provided the creatures.
“Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street,” Cooney said in the statement. “He was the one who came up with the idea of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers.”
She added: “He will be greatly missed.”
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“Sesame Street” aired its first episode on public television on November 10, 1969. The historical educational children’s series introduced the world to beloved Muppet characters, including Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, and helped open the path to inclusion, diversity and learning. On the screen. Morrisett worked as a writer on the show for 56 episodes from 1969 to 2010.
“‘Sesame Street’ (created) in 1969, the year of Woodstock and the moon landing, and continues the optimism of the 1960s,” said Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media , in the USA. TODAY in 2019. “It was definitely an offshoot of the civil rights movement and brought together a multicultural cast and creative team.”
‘Sesame Street’ airs in more than 150 countries, has won 216 Emmys, 11 Grammys and in 2019 received the Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the first time a TV show has received the award. (Big Bird wandered down the aisle and basically sat on Tom Hanks lap).
The series, which has moved to Warner Bros.’ HBO Max streaming service. Discovery in 2020 also broke new ground in children’s television in recent years, introducing human and puppet characters dealing with issues such as homelessness, foster care and autism.
Morrisett is survived by his wife Mary, his daughters Julie and Sarah and his granddaughters Frances and Clara.
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Contributor: Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY; Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lloyd Morrisett: ‘Sesame Street’ co-creator dies at 93