Loretta Mae Moore|
October 4, 1938
Paw Paw, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, singer, voice artist, educator and media personality|
Loretta Mae Long (née Moore) (born October 4, 1938, in Paw Paw, Michigan) is an African American actress, voice artist, singer, media personality, and educator. She has played the character of Susan Robinson on Sesame Street since its debut in 1969.
Long earned her Ph.D. in urban education in 1973 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst while she was starring on Sesame Street. She has acted in musicals (such as Guys and Dolls) and appeared on the Flip Wilson Show with other Sesame Street cast members during its first season.
As of 2018, Long's character, Susan, is one of only three remaining characters who are still played by the actors who originated the roles. (The other two are Big Bird / Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney) and Bob (Bob McGrath)). In the early years, she voiced a few female Muppet voices including Roosevelt Franklin's mother Suzetta and other Muppets where a female voice was needed.
Before Sesame Street, Long served as co-host of the WNET program SOUL! a weekly music, cultural, social and artistic PBS program, from its premier broadcast on September 12, 1968 (when she co-hosted with Alvin Poussaint, the black Harvard psychologist) through December 5, 1968 (when she co-hosted with then-future SOUL! sole co-host Ellis Haizlip). At the same time, Long also was a substitute teacher in New York City. She continued to substitute teach during her early days working for Sesame Street, occasionally causing confusion for students who had watched her on Sesame Street before coming to school and then saw her in their classroom later that same morning.
Long commuted to the University of Massachusetts on her days off from Sesame Street to complete a Ph.D., awarded in 1973. Her dissertation, "'Sesame Street': A Space Age Approach to Education for Space Age Kids", examined the educational model used on Sesame Street.
Long's main role on Sesame Street is Susan, the wife of Gordon Robinson. In early seasons, her character was a housewife; however, in later seasons, her role expanded to that of being a nurse, as well as the mother of adopted son Miles.
Long has also lent her voice to various Muppet segments on Sesame Street, particularly in the early seasons. On the 8th episode of the first season (1969), she was the voice of the mother Muppet in the song "Five People in My Family". She also voiced the mother of Roosevelt Franklin and a backup singer in the nonsense song "Mahna Mahna".
She recorded Susan Sings Songs from Sesame Street (Scepter Records SPS-584) in 1970, including the "ABC Song" and "If You're Happy and You Know It". The album reached #86 on Billboard's Top LP's chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best Recording for Children in 1971, ultimately losing to another Sesame Street recording.
Long's father was a welder and her mother was a cosmetics salesperson. On February 10, 2010, Long was struck by a car as she crossed Route 130 in East Windsor, New Jersey, suffering head wounds as a result. She was listed in fair condition following the accident but made a full recovery.
|1969–present||Sesame Street||Susan Robinson
Roosevelt Franklin's Mother
One of the Anything Muppet backup singers in "Mahna Mahna"
Mother in "Five People in My Family"
Various other Muppet characters
- Street Gang by Michael Davis
- SesameStreet.Org. "Loretta's Biography". Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- Discogs. "Loretta Long – Susan Sings Songs From Sesame Street (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- Discogs. "Loretta Long—Rainy-Day Friend / July the 12, 1939 (Vinyl)". Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- Fair, Matt (2010-02-11). "Actress hit by car recovering". The Times, Trenton. Retrieved 11 February 2010.