As one of television’s iconic characters who has helped teach millions of children over the years their ABCs and 123s, Sonia Manzano who starred as Maria on Sesame Street will be earning the pivotal Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award at the upcoming Emmy Awards in May.
Born in the Bronx, the Puerto Rican New Yorker has become legendary as an iconic TV moms like Lucille Ball of I Love Lucy & June Beaver of Leave it to Beaver after joining the cast of Sesame Street back in 1971.
As Maria, audience members of Sesame Street watched as Manzano portrayed one of the few Latino characters appearing on TV back in the early 70s grow from teenager to a young woman to a wife and eventually a mother. Outside the show, Manzano is also a Latino inspiration being a community activist as well as a writer.
Having become an author of three children’s books as well her autobiography entitled Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, which details her journey from a painful childhood in the South Bronx to a popular actress, Manzano is also one of the first representatives as being a women of color on television.
Although Manzano retired from Sesame Street last year after being a part of its cast for 45 years, Manzano has earned 15 Emmys for being on the show as both an actress and a writer. And while those are accomplishments on their own, the Emmy’s lifetime achievement is just another great honor she deserves.
“My children and just about every child in America has grown up learning their ABC’s from the iconic character of Maria on Sesame Street played by Sonia Manzano,” said Bob Mauro, president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’, “Sonia not only brought the life events of marriage, having a baby and being a mother to viewers young and old, she also brought a seldom-seen diversity, a Latin role model, unlike anything on television at the time.”
You can watch Manzano accept her award at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ 43rd annual Daytime Emmys on May 1 in Los Angeles.