Celebrities and fans all over the world are mourning the passing of TV icons Bob McGrath of Sesame Street and Kirstie Alley of Cheers

Both Bob McGrath (Sesame Street) and Kirstie Alley (Cheers) have became an inspiration to many people around the world and from all walks of life. Their presence in film and TV has established their creative talent and their willingness to share that gift with men, women, and children from different generations.

Photos: @kiristiealley, Bob McGrath Fans Facebook

Both Bob McGrath (Sesame Street) and Kirstie Alley (Cheers) have became an inspiration to many people around the world and from all walks of life. Their presence in film and TV has established their creative talent and their willingness to share that gift with men, women, and children from different generations.

Celebrities and fans all over the world mourned the death of two television icons: Sesame Street's Bob McGrath last December 4 and Cheers' Kirstie Alley last December 5.

Both have became an inspiration to many people around the world and from all walks of life. Their presence in film and TV has established their creative talent and their willingness to share that gift with men, women, and children from different generations.

The Sesame Street generation will surely miss Bob who passed away at the age of 90. Being one of the original cast members of Sesame Street when it first aired in November 1969, Bob was known as a singer, musician, children's book author, and teacher to many generations of kids who watched Sesame Street until his retirement from the show in 2017.

Sesame Street co-star Alan Muraoka posted on Instagram a photo with Bob with the caption: "Just heard the news that dear Bob McGrath has passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family. Words cannot begin to express what Bob meant to me: a role model, a mentor, a friend.

"His kindness and wicked sense of humor were such a joy, and I loved him so much. We all gathered in July to wish him a happy 90th birthday, and that was the last time Herb and I saw him. Rest well my friend. You did good. #alanathoopers #sesamestreet #bobmcgrath #restinpeace #icon."


Tony Award-winning Filipino actress Lea Salonga commented on Muraoka's IG post. She once had a guest stint on Sesame Street in 1993: "I adored him throughout my childhood. His tenor voice was such a big part of it. Rest in peace, Bob."



Singer-actress and former Miss America Vanessa Williiams called Bob her teacher in her tweet: "RIP Dear Teacher! Bob McGrath, Original, Longtime Resident of 'Sesame Street,' Dies at 90 - The Hollywood Reporter"


The Talk host Holly Robinson Peete, whose late father, Matt Robinson, was also a part of the original Sesame Street cast, shared sweet memories as a child on set with McGrath.

She posted on Instagram: “I first met Bob McGrath in 1969 when my father and him starred together on #SesameStreet. He was the guy you saw on TV. The nicest, sweetest, kindest man. The first time my brother and I got to be on Sesame Street we had this scene with him. Rest in peace, Bob McGrath. You were so loved all over the world."


Comedian and Community star Yvette Nicole Brown remembers Bob as one of her childhood heroes. She tweeted: "He lived to be 90, that is a good, long life but maaan… losing the heroes of my childhood still hurts every time."


A Man Called Otto actor Jon Donohue who grew up watching Sesame Street tweeted: "Rest in Peace, Bob McGrath. I’m proud to have grown up in your neighborhood. #SesameStreet"


Chlidren's book author Christopher Eliopoulos remembers Bob's generosity when he was a kid in his tweet:

"When I was 10-years-old, my sister was friend’s with Bob McGrath’s daughter. She invited my sister to visit the set of Sesame Street. So, I did the only thing I could: cry until my Mom called Bob and asked if I could tag along. He agreed. I remember the drive from suburban New Jersey into Manhattan. I remember having to be quiet so Bob could practice his lines.

"Once on the set, I was given free rein to wander and explore. I saw the Mr. Snuffleupagus costume hanging from the rafters, I saw a man walking around with Big Bird’s legs on. I sat in Oscar’s trash can and worked the lid while watching them shoot on the little video monitor there. I sat in Mr. Hooper’s store and on the steps of the brownstone.  It was a magical day.

"Years later, while touring for the I Am Jim Henson book, Craig Shemin booked an event for me at the Museum of the Moving Image because I had told that story at our book release party. I had drawn the set of Sesame Street into that book and placed Bob front and center. During Craig’s interview with me, we heard Bob’s voice singing over the sound system. As a surprise, Craig brought Bob in to surprise me.

"It was my second magical day with Bob. He told great stories and we spent the time chatting and laughing. I could see the utter love and awe in every audience member’s eyes. Bob was…IS our childhood. He was an amazingly kind and generous person. I wish I had more magical days with him. RIP, Bob."


Bob is latest from the original cast ng Sesame Street who passed away after Will Lee as Mr. Hooper (1982), Northern Calloway as David (1990), Chester Lee O'Brien as Mr. Mackintosh (1996), Alaina Reed Hall as Olivia (2009), and Emilio Delgado as Luis (2022).

Born Robert Emmett McGrath in Ottawa, Illinois on June 13, 1932, Bob, as a child, was a lover of music and his parents enrolled him at the Roxy Theater’s Amateur Program.

He graduated college at the school of music of the University of Michigan in 1954. Bob also got his Master of Music degree in Voice from the Manhattan School of Music in 1959.

As one of the original casts of Sesame Street  in 1969, Bob came out in 460 episodes for 47 seasons until he retired from the show in 2017. Many remembered him singing the show's classic songs “People in Your Neighborhood,” “Sing a Song,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and the show's theme song, “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?”

Bob also starred in many Sesame Street special productions such as The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, Follow That Bird, Christmas Eve On Sesame Street, Big Bird's Story Time, Elmopalooza, Ready For School, Sesame Street 50th Anniversary Celebration, and Sesame Street Friends To The Rescue.

Even during his retirement from the show, Bob would still help out with the Sesame Workshop during its many public events and to serve the company's advocacy to help educate the children of the world through television. 

Bob married his wife Ann Logan Sperry in 1958. They had five children, five granddaughters, and three grandsons. The couple lived in Teaneck, New Jersey from 1958 until 2017 until they moved to a ranch in Norwood, New Jersey.

Bob died from complications of a stroke at his home in New Jersey. His family made the announcement via Facebook: “Hello Facebook friends. The McGrath family has some sad news to share. Our father Bob McGrath, passed away today. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.”


Meanwhile, film and TV actress Kirstie Alley shocked Hollywood of her passing after her short fight with colon cancer in Tampa, Florida. She was 71.

Last December 5, her children released a statement: "We are sad to inform you that our incredible, fierce and loving mother has passed away after a battle with cancer, only recently discovered. She was surrounded by her closest family and fought with great strength, leaving us with a certainty of her never-ending joy of living and whatever adventures lie ahead. As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother."

Alley, whose career has spanned for over four decades, will always be remembered for her role as Rebecca Howe in the award-winning sitcom Cheers in 1987 where she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe as best actress in a comedy series in 1991.

Alley was also famous for her other TV shows such as Veronica's Closet, Fat Actress, Kirstie and Scream Queens. She established herself as a box-office star with the 1989 comedy film, Look Who's Talking. 

In a statement to PEOPLE, Alley's Cheers co-star Kelsey Grammer said of the news: "I always believed grief for a public figure is a private matter, but I will say I loved her."

Fellow Cheers stars Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman also expressed their sadness in statements to PEOPLE.

Danson said: "I was on a plane today and did something I rarely do. I watched an old episode of Cheers. It was the episode where Tom Berenger proposes to Kirstie, who keeps saying no, even though she desperately wants to say yes. Kirstie was truly brilliant in it.

"Her ability to play a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown was both moving and hysterically funny. She made me laugh 30 years ago when she shot that scene, and she made me laugh today just as hard.

"As I got off the plane, I heard that Kirstie had died. I am so sad and so grateful for all the times she made me laugh. I send my love to her children. As they well know, their mother had a heart of gold. I will miss her." 

Perlman added: "Kirstie was a unique and wonderful person and friend. Her joy of being was boundless. We became friends almost instantly when she joined the cast of Cheers.

'She loved kids and my kids loved her too. We had sleepovers at her house, with treasure hunts that she created. She had massive Halloween and Easter parties, and invited the entire crew of the show, and their families. She wanted everyone to feel included. She loved her children deeply. I've never met anyone remotely like her. I feel so thankful to have known her. I'm going to miss her very, very much." 

John Travolta, who starred in the 1989 film Look Who's Talking with Alley, wrote on Instagram: "Kirstie was one of the most special relationships I've ever had. I love you Kirstie. I know we will see each other again." 

Alley's friend and fellow Scream Queens alum Jamie Lee Curtis shared a photo of the two from the Fox series on Instagram: "I've just heard the sad news that Kirstie Alley has died. She was a great comic foil in @tvscreamqueens and a beautiful mama bear in her very real life. She helped me buy onesies for my family that year for Christmas. We agreed to disagree about some things but had a mutual respect and connection. Sad news."

Home Improvement star Tim Allen, who co-stared with Alley in the 1997 film For Richer or Poorer, tweeted: "A sweet soul pass on in Kristie Alley. Sad, sad news. Prayers for all her family."

Alley's It Takes Two co-star, Steve Guttenberg posted an Instagram tribute for the actress. "Kirstie met me at her house with a tuna sandwich on my favorite bread. 'Steve, I know all about you and your love of rye bread. Eat some tuna.' We were rehearsing It Takes Two, and every day she amazed me with her generosity of the tangible and with her soulfulness. The world is a bit empty without Kirstie."


Comedian Jackée Harry penned a tribute of her own on Twitter, beside a tweet that Alley wrote in 2018: "Whether you agreed with her or not, Kirstie Alley was an undeniable talent who brought joy to many – through the screen and with her warm, hilarious spirit. RIP, luv. You were one of a kind."


Twilight star Taylor Lautner, who also starred in Scream Queens with Alley, shared a moment from the series on his Instagram Story: "an honor working with you and getting to know your Kirstie. RIP."

Born Kirstie Louise Alley in Wichita, Kansas on January 12, 1951, she attended college at Kansas State University, but dropping out after her sophomore year to relocate in Los Angeles to pursue Scientology and work as an interior designer. 

Alley's first TV appearance was as a contestant on the game show Match Game in 1979. She also appeared on the game show Password Plus in 1980. On both shows she described her profession as interior designer. 

She made her film debut in 1982 in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, playing the Vulcan Starfleet officer Lieutenant Saavik. She was also a regular on the ABC television series Masquerade from 1983 to 1984.

In the years following, she starred in a number of smaller films: One More Chance, Blind Date, and Runaway. She would later on star in big studio films such as Madhouse, Sibling Rivalry, Village of the Damned, It Takes Two, Deconstructing Harry, For Richer or Poorer, and Drop Dead Gorgeous. 

In 1985, she starred in the ABC miniseries North and South, and also portrayed feminist icon Gloria Steinem in the television movie A Bunny's Tale. In 1987, Alley starred alongside Mark Harmon in the comedy film Summer School.

Also in 1987, Alley joined the cast of NBC sitcom Cheers, replacing Shelley Long. It became her breakout hit role and she remained with the show for six years until its eleventh and final season.

In 1989, Alley starred with John Travolta in Look Who's Talking. The film grossed over $295 million worldwide. They then went on to make two other films centered on the same theme: Look Who's Talking Too and Look Who's Talking Now.

In 1995, Alley received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to the film industry.

Alley championed female body image issues when she became spokesperson for Jenny Craig in 2004 to 2007. 

Alley was married from 1970 to 1977 to high-school sweetheart Bob Alley, who coincidentally had the same name as her father. Alley then married actor Parker Stevenson on December 22, 1983. The marriage ended in 1997.

 

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