NEW YORK – Emilio Delgado, who played “Fix-It Shop” owner Luis Rodriguez on “Sesame Street” for more than four decades, died Thursday, his manager said. He was 81.
“We are saddened by the news of Emilio’s passing,” Robert Attermann, CEO of A3 Artists Agency, told CNN 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.”
The beloved Mexican-American actor was a pioneer in children’s television, playing the singing owner of the “Fix-It Shop” on “Sesame Street” from 1971 to 2015, according to IMDb.com. He took a brief break from the show during the late 1980s but returned within a year.
TMZ was the first outlet to report Delgado’s death, adding that he died in New York City. The actor died of multiple myeloma that was diagnosed in December 2020, according to the website.
“We’re devastated to hear about the loss of the brilliant Emilio Delgado,” tweeted the California Shakespeare Theater, where Delgado appeared several years ago in the production of “Quixote Nuevo.”
Delgado was born on May 8, 1940, in Calexico, California, and spent his early childhood living across the border in Mexicali, Mexico, in a large extended family, according to IMDb.com.
In 1968 Delgado began working as a professional actor in the Emmy Award-winning PBS series “Cancion De La Raza” (”Song of The People”) on KCET-TV in Los Angeles. Three years later, the producers of “Sesame Street” expanded their cast to include Latinos and cast Delgado as Luis.
According to IMDb.com, Delgado can claim the longest-running part for a Mexican-American actor in a continuing television series for his 44 years on “Sesame Street.”
He appeared in 431 episodes of the children’s television series, according to IMDb.com.
“For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings,” Delgado told the Houston Chronicle in 2020. “We weren’t dope addicts. We weren’t maids or prostitutes, which were the way we were being shown in television and in film. Here, on ‘Sesame Street,’ there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans.”
Delgado also appeared on television series such as “Lou Grant,” “Law & Order,” “Falcon Crest,” “Quincy, M.E.,” “Cannon,” and “Hawaii Five-O.”
He co-starred in the 1975 television movie, “I Will Fight No More Forever,” a true story about Nez Perce Native American leader Chief Joseph.