Bob McGrath Was a Well-Loved Member of the 'Sesame Street' Neighborhood

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Dec. 5 2022, Published 12:39 p.m. ET

Millions of adults who grew up watching Sesame Street are mourning the death of Robert “Bob” McGrath. He was one of Sesame Street’s first “people in the neighborhood,” long before Abby Cadabby, Elmo, and even The Count moved in.

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McGrath’s family confirmed the beloved actor’s death on his Facebook page on Dec. 4. The New York Times reports that McGrath died from complications after a stroke. He was 90 years old. After decades of success with Sesame Street, what was McGrath's net worth?

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Bob McGrath Built His Net Worth From Sesame Street

McGrath built a net worth of $2 million in the 47 years he spent as one of the leading human characters on Sesame Street. He was on the cast when the children’s program premiered in November 1969.

Bob McGrath

Actor, Singer

Net worth: $2 Million

Beloved Sesame Street cast member Bob McGrath died Dec. 4 at the age of 90. As one of the original human cast members of the popular children's program, McGrath spend 47 years as one of the people in the Sesame Street neighborhood. He was on the show until 2016 when HBO acquired the broadcasting rights to the show.

Age: 90

Birthplace: Ottawa, Ill.

Wife: Ann Logan Sperry

Children: 5

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At first, McGrath wasn’t interested in doing the show when a friend first told him about it. He had his sights set on being the next Andy Williams.

“I thought here’s another silly kiddy show that, you know, doesn’t mean that much,” McGrath said during a 2004 interview for the Television Academy Foundation.

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Then McGrath was introduced to puppeteer Jim Henson and his Muppets. After five minutes of seeing the animation that Henson was doing, McGrath thought, “I want to do this more than anything.”

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McGrath was one of the first four human cast members selected for the show, including Will Lee (Mr. Hooper), Loretta Long (Susan), and Matt Robinson (Gordon).

"We knew we were onto something good, I think, almost from the get-go, and the response back was great after the very early shows. It was glorious," McGrath said in the 2004 interview.

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On Sesame Street, Bob became a well-recognized character for children throughout the country. In one instance, a little boy came up to him in a store and took his hand, the Times reports. When McGrath asked the boy if he knew who he was and where he lived, the boy replied “Bob” and “Sesame Street,” the Times reported.

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McGrath Was Let Go After HBO Took Over ‘Sesame Street'

Fans weren’t happy when HBO, which purchased Sesame Street in 2016, let go McGrath and two other longtime actors on the show. McGrath was 84 at the time.

“We (the cast) are all sad that life can’t continue the way it was. However, we are all proud of our wonderful years on the show. Unhappy because it was a wonderful life and it was more than a television show. It was incredibly rewarding,” McGrath said in a 2016 interview.

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McGrath Was a Japanese Teen Idol Before ‘Sesame Street'

Before McGrath joined Sesame Street as the mild-mannered, soft-spoken Bob, he was quite the teen heartthrob in Japan. After studying music at the University of Michigan and getting his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, McGrath started a career as a vocalist.

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In 1961, he got a gig as one of 25 male singers on the show “Sing Along With Mitch” and was eventually made the featured male soloist on the show. The show ended in 1964, but the cast stayed together and went on tour in Japan.

McGrath recorded nine albums in Japan, and Japanese schoolgirls organized fan clubs around him and chanted his name at concerts, the Times reports. He even sang for Japan’s Prime Minister.


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