"One Of The First Latinos I Ever Saw On TV": Fans Are Celebrating The Legacy Of "Sesame Street" Actor Emilio Delgado

    "When I was a little kid, Emilio Delgado was one of the few TV stars who looked like people in my family."

    If you grew up watching Sesame Street, then Emilio Delgado has always been a part of your life. In fact, he often felt like family.

    He joined the show in its third season and played the beloved Fix-It-Shop owner Luis Rodriguez for 44 years. According to a tweet by Sesame Workshop, "Emilio proudly laid claim to the 'record for the longest-running role for a Mexican American in a TV series.'"

    Emilio posing for a photo with castmembers

    Last night, Sesame Workshop confirmed the actor's death after a long illness. He was 81, but his legacy will forever be cemented in the lives of the people he changed.

    Emilio was undoubtedly a trailblazer whose appearances alongside Sonia Manzano’s Maria made Latino kids like myself feel seen, validated, and loved. In an interview with All Arts TV last year, Emilio said he would often throw Spanish words into his dialogue, even when it wasn't written on the page, making the role his own and allowing him to connect with other bilingual kids around the country.

    This is what Emilio Delgado said the first time he saw Big Bird.

    Twitter: @stevesaldivar

    His legacy is as impactful as the four decades he spent on our screens, and fans and friends of Emilio — including Kermit — are now sharing just how much he meant to them.

    I’ll never forget my friend Emilio Delgado. I have so many memories of singing, laughing, and learning a lot with him on Sesame Street. We’ll miss you, Luis.

    Twitter: @KermitTheFrog

    Many talked about just how impactful it was to see a Latino on Sesame Street growing up:

    Luis and Maria @sesamestreet were the only Brown people I ever saw on TV as a kid. And Sesame Street was how I learned to speak English. That show has always been ahead of the times. I love that my daughter watches it now. RIP Emilio Delgado.

    Twitter: @ErikaLSanchez

    I don't really have any words. 💔 I did want to share this however. Emilio Delgado made it so normal to see folks that looked like family members on screen every morning on Sesame Street.


    RIP you proud Chicano, consummate entertainer & sweet man. Emilio Delgado always announced himself on the phone by saying, “It’s Emilio—Luis from Sesame Street.” As if he needed any introduction! He & Sonia Manzano made Latin-American kids feel seen, accepted, and sunny. 💔

    Twitter: @MrKamp

    When I was a little kid, Emilio Delgado was one of the few TV stars who looked like people in my family. For more than 4 decades, the Mexican American Delgado played the kind-hearted Luis, the Fix-It shop owner on Sesame Street. Thank you for everything, Emilio. Rest in peace.

    PBS / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @VicVela1

    One of the first Latinos I ever saw on tv. RIP Emilio Delgado. https://t.co/SWNOsC6s1m

    PBS / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @marysolcastro

    RIP Emilio Delgado. As Luis on Sesame Street he was the first (and for a long time, only) Man I saw on television who looked like me. Great work, sir.

    PBS / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @Robbiepierce

    While friends — as well as people who've gotten the chance to meet him — shared just how warm and electric he was.

    Before the pandemic, I attended an event with the Sesame Street cast. Emilio Delgado (in the maroon sweater here) was so kind and gracious. Watching him and his castmates sing “Sing” at the end of the night felt like a blessing. It does even more now. RIP Luis. You were so loved.

    Twitter: @ejdickson

    Emilio Delgaudo. I had no idea you were so sick. Seeing you a few months ago I told you how cool you looked. And you did. I never thought for a moment you were sick. So sorry for your loved ones. So glad I was able to experience your talent and warm smile.

    Twitter: @TheFrankOzJam

    Others took this moment to look back at the impact he had in their childhoods, as well as on the world at large.

    So sad to hear the passing of Emilio Delgado who was known to millions of us as Luis from Sesame Street. Such an important person in our childhood and early cognitive memories. Never forget when he realized he loved Maria.

    PBS / Via Twitter: @DannyDeraney

    It's hard to calculate just how many lives this man touched over the years. Thank you for your gift, Emilio Delgado as Luis on Sesame Street. Rest in peace.

    PBS / Via Twitter: @MuppetWiki

    Thank you Emilio Delgado aka “Luis” for helping to raise so many of us. I can still hear your friendly voice and your warm laugh, decades later. Rest In Peace ❤️

    PBS / courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @IBJIYONGI

    The words I’ve seen so many people describe Emilio Delgado with are “warm” and “welcoming” That’s the kind of person I hope to be. Someone who’s very presence makes you feel like you’re with a friend.

    PBS / courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @HistoryMuppet

    Luis and Maria. My peoples, my friends. ♥️ RIP Emilio Delgado.

    PBS / Sesame Workshop / Via Twitter: @wyntermitchell

    That time Maria and Luis fell in love and got married on Sesame Street. Rest in peace, Emilio Delgado

    PBS / Courtesy Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @ThatEricAlper

    I need a moment. With this loss, I think we all do. 💔 @SesameStreet actor #EmilioDelgado Dead at 81, Played Luis for 40 Years. https://t.co/mf2zmM1irL

    Robin Marchant / Getty Images for SiriusXM / Via Twitter: @YNB

    Emilio Delgado's passing has left me a mess. Even though I'm not of Latino descent, seeing a non-Caucasian actor speaking Spanish (which is somewhat close to Tagalog) on the greatest educational show of all time, left an imprint on me that is immeasurable.

    PBS / Courtesy of Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @flipcritic

    My mom texted me with a sweet memory this morning when she heard that Emilio Delgado had died. When I was little, I called water "gagua," & my parents thought this was madness. It was actually Spanish. I had watched Emilio as Luis on Sesame Street. He taught about "agua."

    Twitter: @PotentiaEtActus

    Oh, man. This is so sad to hear. Although I never met him in person, Emilio was a friend to me and to my entire generation. Thank you, Emilio, for your patience, for your kindness and for introducing me to the power of both education and television. ❤️🖖❤️ https://t.co/7XU5NAajAv

    PBS / Courtesy of Everett Collection / Via Twitter: @ansonmount

    Que en paz descanses Emilio. We are all better off for having had you in our lives. ❤️

    Canta una canción. Canta en voz alta. Canta fuerte. Thank you for singing with us Emilio Delgado. ❤️