HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleLloyd Morrisett, ‘Sesame Street’ Co-Creator, Dead at 93

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

by Taylor Cunningham
Sesame Street
(Photo by Martin Schutt/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Lloyd Morrisett, one of Sesame Street’s original creators, passed away on January 23. He was 93.

The nonprofit organization that runs the series, Sesame Workshop, shared the news via Twitter and paid special tribute to Morrisett’s dedication to equality in education.

“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett, Ph.D., who died at the age of 93,” it wrote.

His cause of death is currently unknown.

“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 thread continues.

Lloyd Morrisett Brought ‘Sesame Street’ to the Screen in 1969

Morrisett co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) in 1965, after becoming a parent himself. He brought the well-loved children’s series to the screen in 1969 with the help of his friend, Joan Ganz Cooney.

The idea to craft a television show that teaches through entertainment came to him while watching his then three-year-old daughter, Sarah, eagerly watch the family set. He realized that using TV to reach disadvantaged children could give them a leg up in class.

“We found that those children would enter school three months behind, and by the end of first grade, be a year behind — and get further and further behind,” Morrisett said in the documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street.

“And I wondered whether there was a possibility that television could be used to help children with school,” he continued.

The Kennedy Awards Honored Lloyd Morrisett Shortly Before His Death

Before embarking on his now-legacy, he earned a B.A. in philosophy from Oberlin College and a Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also eventually earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Yale University.

The innovator chaired the Workshop’s Board of Trustees for three decades before he became a Lifetime Honorary Trustee, according to his biography page.

“A wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader of the Workshop for decades, Lloyd was fascinated by the power of technology and constantly thinking about new ways it could be used to educate,” the Tweet continued.

“Joan Ganz Cooney, his co-founder and close friend, put it best. ‘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.”

The series, which is now in its 53rd season, won six Emmy Awards during Morrisett’s life. He was also recognized for his work with the show by The Kennedy Awards in 2019.

“He was a trusted partner and loyal friend to me for over fifty years,” the organization continued. “And he will be sorely missed.”