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June 12, 1950 |
Linwood, New Jersey
Manzano was born in Linwood, New Jersey. When she was very young, her family moved to the South 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.
Manzano has performed on the New York stage, in the critically acclaimed theatre pieces 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".
Manzano's 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.
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; 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 in Washington DC, The National Hispanic Media Coalition, 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.
Bronx Hall of Fame
In 2004, she was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame the most honorable award that can be given in the Bronx.