'Sesame Street's' Maria Is Saying Goodbye After More Than Four Decades

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Sesame Street is losing one of its most celebrated residents, Maria Figueroa.

After 44 years, Sesame Street's beloved Maria is moving on to greener climates as Sonia Manzano is retiring.

The 65-year-old actress revealed the news during her address at the American Library Association Annual Conference on Tuesday.

Manzano joined the show back in 1971 playing Maria, a Puerto Rican teenager who gets a job at the Sesame Street library.

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Fans of the show have watched Maria (and Manzano) grow up over the years and news of her departure hit many fan pretty hard, however most were very supportive and shared their gratitude for her years of dedication to teaching children.

Manzano also said that she's "not sure" what she's going to do now that she's retired, but she's "always searching" and that this chapter of her life is "the beginning of new endeavors."

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Aside from playing Maria, Manzano was also a writer on the show, and earned 15 Daytime Emmy Awards as part of the writing staff.

The PBS educational program celebrated its 45th anniversary in November, meaning Manzano has been on Sesame Street for nearly as long as the show has been on the air. Check out the video below for a look at all the biggest celebrities who made cameo appearances on Sesame Street over the years.

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