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Sonia Manzano, 'Sesame Street's Maria Rodriguez, retiring after 44 years

Actress Sonia Manzano ,who plays Maria Rodriquez on

Actress Sonia Manzano ,who plays Maria Rodriquez on "Sesame Street," poses with Grover in honor of the 4,000th episode of "Sesame Street' in 2002. Photo Credit: Getty Images / George De Sota

The letter of the day is H, for heartbroken.

"Sesame Street" star Sonia Manzano, who has played Maria Rodriguez since 1971, announced on Wednesday that she will be retiring from the show. It's not known yet what will happen to the Fix-It shop she runs with her on-screen husband, Luis.

Manzano joined the show in 1971 and was upped to a series regular in 1974. From 1981 until 2002, she served as a writer on the show and has won 15 Emmys for her writing. She has an upcoming memoir, "Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx," due out soon.

"I hope that kids like [the memoir] and that they see you can make something out of every life," she said to the American Library Association. "I didn't become Maria in spite of Maria, I became Maria because of my childhood. Any life is worthwhile and you can make something of it."

Given the amount of children's lives she has changed over the years, fans took to Twitter to express their shock. "Maria is leaving Sesame Street! You were such a big part of my childhood," tweeted Jeff Russell. In true Maria fashion, she has been responding to many of the tweets with gratitude and love.

We can only hope it is not as traumatic as when Mr. Hooper died.


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