Lloyd Morrisett, co-creator of the iconic children’s television series “Sesame Street,” has passed away. He turned 93.
Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind “Sesame Street,” shared the news of Morrisett’s death in a tweet Monday and confirmed his death TODAY to USA TODAY via email. A cause of death was not given.
“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett,” the organization wrote alongside a photo of Morrisett posing with a Muppet. “Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children around the world, with ‘Sesame Street’ as only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of hard work and lasting impact.”
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After receiving his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College, Morrisett graduated in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, according to the official Sesame Workshop website, and later earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Yale University.
In 1968, Morrisett co-founded the non-profit Children’s Television Workshop (which would later be renamed Sesame Workshop) with former publicist Joan Ganz Cooney, who called Morrisett “a trusted partner and loyal friend” in a statement released by Sesame Workshop was shared via Twitter Monday.
“Without Lloyd Morrisett there would be no Sesame Street,” Cooney said in the statement. “It was he who first came up with the idea of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills such as letters and numbers.”
She added: “He will be sorely missed.”
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“Sesame Street” first aired on public television on November 10, 1969. The groundbreaking educational children’s series introduced the world to beloved Muppet characters, including Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, and helped pave the way for inclusion, diversity and on-screen learning. Morrisett worked as a writer on the series for 56 episodes from 1969-2010.
“‘Sesame Street’ (premiered) in ’69, the year of both Woodstock and the moon landing, and continued the optimism of the ’60s,” Ron Simon, curator of television and radio at the Paley Center for Media, told the USA. TODAY in 2019. “It was definitely an offshoot of the civil rights movement and brought together a multicultural cast and creative team.”
The series, which will be coming to Warner Bros.’ HBO Max streaming service in 2020. Discovery has moved on, has also broken new ground for children’s television in recent years, introducing human and puppet characters dealing with issues such as homelessness, foster care and autism.
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Contributing: Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lloyd Morrisett: ‘Sesame Street’ co-creator dies at 93