Sonia Manzano is getting her Emmy moment…
The 65-year-old Puerto Rican actress and writer will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ 43rd annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 1 in Los Angeles.
Manzano is best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street from 1971 until her retirement in 2015.
During her 45 years on Sesame Street, Manzano picked up 15 Emmys for her work as a writer on the groundbreaking public television show.
“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 NATAS President Bob Mauro. “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.”
A borinqueña daughter of the South Bronx and graduate of NYC’s famed High School of the Performing Arts, Manzano made her professional debut in the original off-Broadway cast of Godspell before joining Sesame Street in 1971. Her own life — from teenager through growing up, marrying and becoming a mother — was integrated into the complex social fabric of Sesame Street, the Peyton Place of the pre-pubescent set.
A community activist, occasional stage actress and author, Manzano wrote a memoir, Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, that was published in August by Scholastic Press.