It’s officially the end of an era.
Everyone’s favorite Sesame Street neighbor Maria, played by actress Sonia Manzano, is leaving the famed children’s program after 44 years on the air.
Manzano, who first appeared alongside the furry puppets in 1971, was a staple on the popular educational program, making her a familiar face across generations; adults who watched her as children often remark how their children still relate to Maria.
The actress, who is also one of the show’s writers, made the retirement announcement Monday at the American Library’s Association annual conference in San Francisco. Long-time viewers and lovers of the show took to Twitter to express their appreciation for Manzano while sending her emotional goodbyes.
— Jonathan Santoni (@JSlamboni) July 2, 2015
@Yahoo Sesame Street and Maria was why I learned to speak Spanish in College. The show won’t be the same without her but I wish her well.
— W L Christian (@CNIRealtyGrp) July 2, 2015
God bless and happy retirement!!! You made my days as a small child so much more enjoyable and taught me so… http://t.co/GisROTBnSx
— Felicia V. Gaddis (@fvgaddis) July 2, 2015
I loved Maria on @sesamestreet as a kid because she could fix anything! She is a role model for handy fix it girls and women!
— Meredith Guthrie (@meredithea) July 2, 2015
For her role in the success of Sesame Street, Manzano has won 15 Emmy Awards. We wish her the best in her retirement.
SOURCE: Twitter, Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty