"Come and play. Everything's A-OK. Friendly neighbours there. That's where we meet..." Sadly, one of "Sesame Street"'s friendly and beloved neighbours is leaving. After almost 45 years on the show, Sonia Manzano, better known as Fix-It Shop owner Maria, is retiring.
She made the announcement during the annual American Library Association conference, which was held in San Francisco.
Many reached out to Manzano on social media to express their sadness, gratitude and well-wishes:
@SoniaMManzano Wow, just heard the news. I'm 46 & grew up loving Maria & others so did my now grown kids. We❤️U! Will miss U! Job well done!— Cheryl Boyanowski (@Cheryl_ann_86) July 2, 2015
Manzano first appeared on the children's show in 1971 and became a regular in 1974. When she moved into the neighbourhood, Manzano portrayed Maria as a teenager.
Viewers have watched Maria grow up. She was a first crush, a best friend and a baby sitter, telling stories and making everyone laugh. She dated and then married Luis, and they later had a daughter, Gabi, who is now grown up. Maria and Luis own and run the Fix-It Shop, specializing in toaster repair.
The 65-year-old Puerto Rican actress was also one of the show's writers. She incorporated parts of her own life into her character. When she became pregnant, it was also part of the show. In one episode, she even nursed her daughter and explained breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Manzano earned 15 Emmys as writer and was nominated twice for her role as a performer.
In addition to acting, Manzano is the author of two children's books ("No Dogs Allowed!" and "A Box Full of Kittens"), and last year published the young adult novel "The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano." Her memoir, "Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx," will be published later this summer.
She may be leaving the block, but Manzano has hinted at returning for "Sesame Street"'s 50th anniversary.
@cahuenga23 Maybe I'll go back for 50th anniversary and make a guest appearance! Gracias!— Sonia Manzano (@SoniaMManzano) July 1, 2015
We hope so. It's going to be a long four years. We'll miss you Maria.
With files from the Huffington Post.
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