Sonia Manzano

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Sonia Manzano
Born (1950-06-12) June 12, 1950 (age 64)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Actress, writer
Years active 1971-present

Sonia Manzano (born June 12, 1950) is an American actress and writer. She is best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street since 1971.

Early life[edit]

Manzano was born in New York City and was raised in the Bronx. Her parents migrated to New York from Puerto Rico. Manzano attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she began her acting career.


She attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on a scholarship. In her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show Godspell. Manzano joined the production of Sesame Street in 1971, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series. She has won 15 Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff.

She has performed on the New York stage, in the critically acclaimed theatre pieces The Vagina Monologues and "The Exonerated." She has written for the Peabody Award-winning children's series, "Little Bill," and has written a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called "Talking Outloud".[citation needed]

Her children's book No Dogs Allowed, published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing in 2004, is one of five books selected by the General Mills initiative "Spoonfuls of Stories". As part of that effort, Manzano is working with General Mills and its nonprofit partner, First Book, to encourage children to read and to help children across the United States gain access to books. The book has also been successfully adapted as a stage play.[citation needed]

Manzano was nominated twice for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. She has served on the March of Dimes Board; the board of the George Foster Peabody Awards;[1] and the board of a New York City theatrical institution, Symphony Space. She is a member of the board of advisors of the Project Sunshine Book Club. She was featured in the Learning Leaders (volunteers helping students succeed) poster, designed to encourage reading in NYC public schools. Manzano has received awards from the Association of Hispanic Arts, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education in 2003, and the "Groundbreaking Latina Lifetime Achievement" award from the National Association of Latina Leaders in 2005. She received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from University of Notre Dame in 2005.[citation needed]

Bronx Hall of Fame[edit]

In 2004, she was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Manzano resides in the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband Richard Regan (whom she married in 1986) and their daughter Gabriella.[2]


External links[edit]