The actor passed away from blood cancer, after having been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2020.
Emilio Delgado, a fixture on Sesame Street, has died at the age of 81. Delgado became a household name with kids for playing Fix-It Shop owner Luis on the show for over 40 years. The actor died at his home in New York City on Thursday. Delgado's manager confirmed the actor's death. "We are saddened by the news of Emilio's passing. Emilio was an immense talent who brought so much joy and smiles to his fans. He will be missed by many and we know his legacy will live on. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, including his wife, Carole," said Robert Attermann, CEO of A3 Artists Agency, reported CNN.
Delgado had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in 2020, as per a report by TMZ. The actor's most popular role came in Sesame street as the Fix-It Shop owner Luis. It was also a very important role for representation, especially considering Delgado was shown on TV minus the usual stereotypes that came associated with being Latinx. "For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings," Delgado told the Houston Chronicle in 2020. "We weren't dope addicts. We weren't maids or prostitutes, which was the way we were being shown in television and in film. Here, on 'Sesame Street,' there were different people who spoke different languages and ate interesting foods, and they were all Americans."
Sesame Workshop paid tribute to one of their iconic characters. "A beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years, his warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations," said Sesame Workshop in a statement. "At the forefront of representation, Emilio proudly laid claim to the 'record for the longest-running role for a Mexican-American in a TV series.' We are so grateful he shared his talents with us and with the world."
Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of Emilio Delgado, known the world over for his role as Luis on Sesame Street. A beloved member of the Sesame family for over 50 years, his warmth and humor invited children to share a friendship that has echoed through generations.— Sesame Workshop (@SesameWorkshop) March 11, 2022
The actor also appeared in other TV series such as "Law & Order," "Lou Grant" and "Falcon Crest." He also co-starred in the 1975 TV movie about Nez Perce Native American leader Chief Joseph — "I Will Fight No More Forever." Delgado was also active in theater circles very recently. Before the pandemic in 2020, he starred in "Quixote Nuevo," a version of "Don Quixote." He also served as the artistic director of the Barrio Theatre Ensemble of East Los Angeles.
Delgado was born in Calexico, California but grew up with his grandparents in Mexicali, Mexico. For Delgado, who lived his days at a California school, and his nights at home across the border, he inculcated a lot of both cultures. From listening to rock ‘n’ roll during the day, while listening to mariachi at night. He was also fluent in Spanish and English. As a kid, he really enjoyed watching Mexican movies about “cowboys with horses and big hats, singing with their guitar,” he said.
We are heartbroken to report the passing of Emilio Delgado; best known as Luis Rodriguez on Sesame Street, who joined the series in 1971— Muppet History (@HistoryMuppet) March 10, 2022
Thank you for all of the wonderful memories ❤️ pic.twitter.com/nORrST50A5
He aspired to be an actor but the opportunities for Latinx people were hard to come by and even the ones he was offered were catering to the stereotype of being criminals and lowlifes. That's when he got the part in Sesame street. “I’d been trying all my professional life to be somewhere I can change that, whether I was talking about it or trying to get into a project that showed Latinos in a good light,” he said. “That’s why ‘Sesame Street’ was such a good thing. For the first time on television, they showed Latinos as real human beings.”
Delgado long understood that power structure in Hollywood limited the roles and space for minorities but he was hopeful of a better future for the Latinx community and he has certainly played a big role in paving way for the next generation of actors and voice-over artists.