Lloyd Morrisett, ‘Sesame Street’ Co-Creator, Dies at 93

In 2019, Morrisett and “Sesame Street” became the first television show recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors

Sesame Street co-founder Lloyd Morrisett with Sesame Street characters Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster attend the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors Kennedy Center
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Lloyd Morrisett, the co-creator of beloved children’s series “Sesame Street,” has died, Sesame Workshop announced via Twitter on Monday. He was 93.

“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett, PhD, who died at the age of 93,” the nonprofit educational organization behind “Sesame Street” wrote. “A Lifetime Honorary Trustee, Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with Sesame Street only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact.”

The org, previously known as the Children’s Television Workshop, continued its tweet thread, praising Morrisett as a “wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader of the Workshop for decades,” adding that he was “fascinated by the power of technology and constantly thinking about new ways it could be used to educate.”

Sesame Workshop co-founder and close friend to Morrisett, Joan Ganz Cooney, is quoted as saying of her longtime collaborator: “Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street. It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers. He was a trusted partner and loyal friend to me for over fifty years, and he will be sorely missed.”

Morrisett served as chairman of the Workshop’s board of trustees for more than 30 years before becoming a Lifetime Honorary Trustee, per the Workshop. At the time of creating “Sesame Street” with Ganz Cooney, a television producer, Morrisett was a psychologist serving as vice president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Partnering with the late, beloved Jim Henson and his Muppets, the first episode of “Sesame Street” aired in November 1969.

Among his many accomplishments, Morrisett and his “Sesame Street” became the first television show recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2019. “Sesame Street” also stands as one of only three shows to get a Lifetime Achievement Emmy and has more than 150 Emmy Awards to date.

In a statement provided to TheWrap, Adam Sharp, President and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, remembered Morrisett for enriching the lives of millions with his lauded body of work.

“In co-creating Sesame Street and other Children’s Television Workshop programming, Lloyd Morrisett not only gave start to some of the world’s most beloved — and most Emmy-awarded — television programs; he and Joan Ganz Cooney defined the gold standard for a whole genre of television,” Sharp said. “Today, the original Sesame Street audience can share the delight of his creation with their own grandkids, who will undoubtedly share the experience with yet more generations as his impact long endures. Our Academy mourns his passing and knows that the love and warmth so ever-present in all his work is today being reflected back to his family by the millions of viewers whose lives he enriched.”