‘Sesame Street’ Star Emilio Delgado Dies at 81

    Emilio Delgado, the actor best known for portraying “Fix-It-Shop” owner Luis Rodriguez on Sesame Street, has died. He was 81.

    The death was confirmed by Delgado’s representatives in a statement to Variety, which read, “We are saddened by the news of Emilio’s passing. 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.”

    Born on May 8, 1940, in Calexico, California, Delgado got his break into acting in 1968 when he received his first role in a summer stock play starring Martha Raye. He was later cast in the first Mexican-American soap opera, Cancion de la Raza, and became the artistic director of the new Mexican-American Centre of Creative Arts.

    After landing a series regular role on the children’s program Angie’s Garage, in November 1970, where he was billed as a singer-guitarist, Delgado was tapped for Sesame Street. He played Luis, who ran the repair service “The Fix-It Shop,” alongside Raul Julia’s Rafael. The character was the opposite of the Mexican stereotypes present on TV at the time, being portrayed as an honest, hard-working, and affable person.

    The role was a huge success, and Delgado would go on to star in Sesame Street for 44 years and 428 episodes. However, he stopped appearing regularly after his contract wasn’t renewed in 2016 due to a re-tooling of the series. His final appearance came in 2017, in the episode “Having a Ball,” though he continued to represent the series alongside his fellow co-stars at public events.

    In addition to his work on Sesame Street, Delgado also had guest spots on shows such as Law & Order, Hawaii Five-O, House of Cards, and The Get Down. He was also a regular cast member on the Emmy-winning series Lou Grant and the short-lived Born to the Wind.

    He is survived by his wife Carole and his two children, Aram and Lauren.

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