‘Sesame Street's' Maria, Sonia Manzano, Is Retiring After 44 Years

Manzano joined the cast of "Sesame Street" in 1971, playing a then-teenaged Maria

It's the end of an era for "Sesame Street": Sonia Manzano--Maria for more than four decades--is retiring from the beloved children's program.

News of Manzano's departure arrived in the form of a tweet by the American Libararies Association, after she appeared at their annual conference earlier this week.

"After 45 years on Sesame Street, @SoniaMManzano will no longer appear on the next season," the tweet reads.

While "Sesame Street" has yet to comment, Manzano has been consoling fans on Twitter, even suggesting that she could return at some point.

"Maybe I'll go back for 50th anniversary and make a guest appearance!" she said in response to one fan. She also admitted that she has always been in love with Oscar the Grouch and asked fans not to be bummed about the news, which is probably going to be harder to do than it sounds.

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Manzano joined the cast of "Sesame Street" in 1971, playing a then-teenaged Maria. The character went on to co-own the Fix-It Shop with husband Luis (Emilio Delgado). Over the course of her tenure on the series as a writer and actress, Manzano has won 15 Emmys.

Her other credits include the original off-Broadway production of "Godspell" and outside of "Sesame Street" she recurs on "Law and Order: SVU" as Judge Gloria Pepitone. Her kids book, "The Lowdown on the High Bridge," will be released this summer. Her autobiography, "Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South of Bronx," is also due out this summer.

It may be the end of an era, but it's the "beginning of new endeavors," according to one tweet from Manzano.

Thanks for everything, Maria.

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