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Sesame Street Actor Emilio Delgado, Known As Shop Owner Luis, Dead at 81

Sesame Street Actor Emilio Delgado, Known As Shop Owner Luis, Dead at 81

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File:Emilio Delgado.jpg
Emilio Delgado – Carol Delgado, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) – Emilio Delgado, a beloved actor who for over 40 decades was a caring and familiar presence in children’s lives on American TV as handyman Luis on Sesame Street passed away Thursday (March 10). Delgado succumbed to the blood cancer known as multiple myeloma, which he had been battling since December 2020. He died peacefully at home in New York, as reported by his wife Carol Delgado.

Delgado joined the show in 1971 after receiving a call to audition as the producers wanted a more diverse cast. He said the producers were open to his suggestion to sprinkle Spanish terms into the script.

“The first time that I saw Big Bird walk on, my line was, ‘Big Bird!’ ” Delgado said in a 2021 interview with the YouTube series Famous Cast Words. “But I didn’t say ‘Big Bird,’ I said, ‘pajaro!'” Delgado explained that pajaro meant “bird” in Spanish and the producers decided to keep it in. “I called him pajaro from then on every time I saw him,” Delgado said.

Delgado was born in 1940 in Calexico, Calif., near the U.S./Mexico border and raised a few miles away in Mexicali, Mexico. From his home, he could hear music into the night from a pair of beer gardens across the street. “I remember going to sleep to the sound of mariachis,” he said in a 2011 interview on the public television series, Up Close with Patsy Smullin. He decided then to become a performer, appearing in school plays and singing, with full parental support.

“He really lived biculturally,” Carol Delgado expressed to The New York Times. “Because he was an American citizen, he would walk to Calexico every day for school. It wasn’t the border politics of today.”

In addition to charming children over the years, Delgado’s other acting credits include The Michael J. Fox Show, Lou Grant, House of Cards, Falcon Crest and Hawaii Five-O. In 2018, he began a stint in the play Quixote Nuevo, performing at the California Shakespeare Theater, Boston’s Hartford Stage and Alley Theatre in Houston.

Former NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio declared October 15, 2019, “Emilio Delgado Day”, honoring Hispanic heritage.

Delgado is survived by a daughter, Lauren Delgado; a son, Aram Delgado; four siblings: Cesar Delgado, Edward Delgado, Martha Ledesma, Norma Vizcaino; and his beloved wife, Carol Delgado.

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