'Sesame Street' Emilio Delgado Dead at 81 ... Played Luis for 40 Years

Emilio Delgado -- the actor best known, and beloved, for his role as Luis on "Sesame Street" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

Delgado's wife, Carol, tells TMZ he passed away Thursday surrounded by family at his home in NYC. We're told Emilio had recently been in hospice care ... he was diagnosed with the blood cancer Multiple myeloma in December 2020.

Carol says Emilio was still a working actor right up until the pandemic -- playing the lead in "Quixote Nuevo" -- a theater production that had a 3-city run before things were shut down. He also recently did some voiceover work in January 2022.

The beloved Mexican-American actor was a pioneer in children's television, playing Luis, the 'Fix-It Shop' owner for a total of 40 years on the 'Street.' He took a brief hiatus from the show in the late 80s, but returned within a year.

He also performed in live theater throughout his career -- including some "Sesame Street" stage productions -- and has appeared at various conventions over the years.

Emilio was 81.


Big Bird Puppeteer Caroll Spinney Dead at 85 ... 'Sesame' Resident Since '69

Caroll Spinney -- the guy who manned Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street" for nearly half a century -- has died.

Spinney passed away Sunday at his Connecticut home after living with Dystonia for a while, according to Sesame Workshop ... the nonprofit org behind the hit children's television show. Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person's muscles contract uncontrollably.

Incredibly, the longtime puppeteer worked on the show for 49 years ... and retired from 'Sesame' just last year. He had been on the show since its early days in 1969. Besides being the man behind Big Bird, Spinney also handled and voiced Oscar the Grouch.

The legendary Jim Henson brought Spinney on-board, and by most accounts ... he struggled bringing Big Bird to life at first and having him resonate with the audience. Eventually, Spinney said he turned BB into a "big kid" character -- and the rest was history.

He starred in thousands of "Sesame Street" episodes -- more than any other cast member -- and it was certainly no walk in the park controlling the 8-foot bird costume. Spinney said he would have to hold the 5-pound head up with his right hand and work the mouth and eyebrows on that end ... while controlling both arms with just his own left one.

There was a fishing wire that connected both extremities inside the suit, and Spinney would operate both by using just his left side. Oscar, no doubt, was much easier to work.

He's survived by his wife, Debra, and his three children. Spinney was 85.


'Sesame Street' Did Grover Drop the F-Bomb?!

Grover may have taken his "blue" schtick a little too far -- because it sounds like the muppet may have dropped an f-bomb on "Sesame Street."

... or maybe he didn't.


Here's the deal, Grover was talking with another muppet about cameras during a recent episode ... when he made a very excited comment.

Some people think he said, "Move the camera, yes, yes, that sounds like an excellent idea."

Others think he said, "Yes, yes, that’s a f*cking excellent idea."

So, is Grover's mouth dirtier than Oscar the Grouch's trash can? Or are people with dirty minds just hearing what they WANT to hear, instead of what Grover actually said?

It's just like the "Yanny" vs. "Laurel" debate all over again ... except this time puppets and kids are involved.

Watch the clip and judge for yourself ...

LeVar Burton Bert & Ernie Are Gay Deal With It!!!


LeVar Burton is not down with anyone who is not down with Bert and Ernie coming out as gay.

The iconic "Reading Rainbow" host was at LAX when he weighed in on the big revelation his fellow PBS stars are a couple ... according to "Sesame Street" writer Mark Saltzman, anyway.

LeVar says it's hardly news to him -- and millions of others -- but still thinks it's a powerful step for society. And, for anyone bitching about the news, LeVar's got some advice for ya. Our photog also wonders if it's time for Bert and Ernie to ditch the twin beds and, y'know ... come together? Watch LeVar do some 'splaining.

For the record ... Sesame Workshop's official stance is B&E are not gay because "they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

LeVar, like many, many others ... ain't buying that for a sec.

Bert and Ernie Show Writer Says They're Gay!!! ... Sesame Street Says They're Not

11:40 AM PT -- A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop has countered Saltzman, telling TMZ ... "As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves."

They continue, "Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

Frank Oz -- longtime puppeteer for the show and hands behind some of the beloved characters, including Bert -- also denounced Saltzman, saying, "It seems Mr. Mark Saltzman was asked if Bert & Ernie are gay. It's fine that he feels they are. They're not, of course. But why that question? Does it really matter? Why the need to define people as only gay? There's much more to a human being than just straightness or gayness."

Bert and Ernie are finally out ... a "Sesame Street" writer is confirming the iconic characters are a gay couple.

Bert and Ernie have been on the show since it started in 1969, and there's always been speculation about the true nature of their relationship. Mark Saltzman, who joined the "Sesame Street" crew in 1984, cleared it all up by telling Queerty he wrote Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

He says the 'Sesame' duo is a reflection of his own same-sex relationship and not about pushing an agenda.

Mark says he based Bert and Ernie on his relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman -- Mark was Ernie and Arnold was Bert.

Of course, Bert and Ernie have shared a basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street for the last 49 years ... although they've always slept in separate beds. Still, their chemistry -- while playfully arguing and bickering -- was always palpable.

Mark's revelation might be more of a formality -- the fact is, Bert and Ernie are longtime gay icons for many in the LGBT community.

Originally published -- 9/18/2018 9:14 AM PDT

'Sesame Street' Lawsuit Judge Sides with Ejaculating Puppets

6/1/18 5:10 PM PT -- It looks like the puppet wars are over -- Sesame Street just dismissed its lawsuit against producers of "The Happytime Murders" ... according to new legal docs.

Melissa McCarthy and her cast of raunchy puppets are free to keep using their "Sesame Street"-inspired tagline -- 'cause a judge says the 2 ideas are clearly not the same thing.

A judge in NYC handed down a ruling Wedenesday in favor of STX Productions -- which is producing McCarthy's "The Happytime Murders" -- saying the film's catchphrase, "No Sesame. All Street.," makes a blatant distinction to fans that this is NOT "Sesame Street."

As we reported ... Sesame Workshop is suing STX for allegedly infringing on their company name, and trashing their kid-friendly reputation with a not-so-kid-friendly flick.

Lawyers for "Sesame Street" reportedly tried saying that an older court case about a 1970s porn movie named "Debbie Does Dallas" being found to infringe on the Dallas Cowboys' good name supported their argument now ... but the judge shot that down, saying that flick's X-rated ... this one's R ... and there's a difference.

STX issued a statement through their pupper lawyer, Fred, Esq., saying ... "We fluffing love Sesame Street and we're obviously very pleased that the ruling reinforced what STX's intention was from the very beginning — to honor the heritage of The Jim Henson Company's previous award-winning creations while drawing a clear distinction between any Muppets or Sesame Street characters and the new world Brian Henson and team created."

Long story short ... ejaculating puppets walked away with a win on the street.

Kendall Jenner Green with Envy

Kendall Jenner walked away from Pepsi right onto a set with Kermit the Frog.

Kendall sat stoop-side with Kermit Tuesday in NYC's West Village for a Love magazine photo shoot.

Kendall and the sock were rocking high fashion garb from Miu Miu's Fall/Winter 2017 collection -- Kendall in red, and Kermit in ... well, you know.

There were pizza boxes, Dunkin' Donuts, and Cheerios, but get real ... they're props for the shoot.

Miss Piggy was also present. Maybe she ate the donuts.

The shoot is set to appear in issue 18.

Elmo F Is for Fired ... By Donald Grump?!

Elmo is weighing in on President Trump's plan to cut his salary ... and Elmo ain't tickled. Not at all.

The normally happy "Sesame Street" resident was pretty surly in this spoof reacting to Trump's proposed congressional budget, in which the prez wants to completely eliminate federal funding for PBS.

Unclear if PBS or "Sesame Street" brass signed off on this -- but it's pretty damn funny.

Elmo down on his luck.

Waiting for your permission to load the Facebook Video.

'Sesame Street' No STD Worries For Bert & Ernie

"Sesame Street" is threatening a company for suggesting Bert and Ernie may have contracted STDs.

Mately, a company that makes at-home HIV/STD testing kits, used the BFFs in a new campaign aimed at sexual health awareness. Problem is, the 'Street' says nobody at Mately got an OK to use Bert and Ernie's likeness.

A spokesperson for Sesame Workshop tells TMZ, "The Mately ad is an unauthorized, unlicensed use of our characters. We will be contacting Mately and the appropriate parties with a cease and desist letter instructing them to take this down."

Mately got the message loud and clear -- it's removed all Bert and Ernie images from its site and says there was no intent to "tarnish the Sesame Street brand."

Sex keeps getting the famous roommies in trouble. A few years ago "Sesame Street" had to squash rumors about Bert and Ernie being gay. The 'Street' clarified ... they're puppets and don't have a sexual orientation.

This post was brought to you by the letters C and D (cease and desist).

Kevin Clash HUGE VICTORY FOR ELMO in Child Molestation Cases

Pay attention kids, 'cause today's lesson -- YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE.

TMZ has learned ... Kevin Clash -- who famously voiced Elmo -- just scored a big victory in the child molestation cases filed against him, after a judge ruled that THREE accusers had waited too long to file their lawsuits.

According to the legal documents filed in federal court in New York and obtained by TMZ, the judge THREW OUT the lawsuits filed by Cecil Singleton, Kevin Kiadii and a 3rd unnamed accuser -- after deciding their cases against Clash had been submitted after the statute of limitations had run out.

We broke the story ... Singleton sued Clash back in 2012 (when he was 23) claiming an adult Clash seduced him when he was 15 years old. Singleton says they had sexual intercourse years later ... when Cecil was an adult.

In the documents, the judge explains that the statute of limitations to sue expired 3 years after the accusers turned 18 ... therefore, they're all too late.

Clash resigned from his job with Sesame Street after several men -- including Singleton and Kiadii -- came forward with allegations of inappropriate sexual relationships.

Clash has denied any wrongdoing.

Gilbert Gottfried And Here's a Muppet Rape Joke ...

Kevin Clash TICKLED An Accuser Dropped Sex Allegations

Kevin Clash ... one down, four to go.

A man who accused the former Elmo puppeteer of underage sex has dropped his lawsuit in New York ... saying he wants to focus on his career.

If you're keeping score ... that leaves four men who've sued Clash for allegedly engaging in sexual escapades with them when they were underage.

The lawyer for the man who dropped his case tells us ... there's been NO settlement, and his client stands by his story. The lawyer says his client can re-file his case later ... though he's not saying that's going to happen.

Still ... Clash has to be relieved that one of these kids is not like the other.

Elmo Replaced By New Voice Actor! ( ... Or Actress??)

What's "Sesame Street" to do when the man who used to voice Elmo gets embroiled in an underage sex scandal? Find someone who is just as androgynous as Elmo to replace him.

TMZ was at the White House Easter Egg Roll today where the new person doing the voice of Elmo was there to entertain the children.

Not trying to be rude, just being honest ... we don't know if it's a guy or a girl.

You have to wonder if the "Sesame Street" people made this choice on purpose ... since Kevin Clash, the guy who used voice Elmo, lost his job after accusations of underage sex with boys.

But don't get too attached to the new voice actor (or actress) ... a rep for Sesame Workshop tells us the puppeteer is just a temp ... because "no decision has been made for a permanent replacement as of yet."

7:20 AM PT -- The mystery is solved!!!! The person who does the voice is Ryan Dillon ... and it's ... a ... MAN!!!

Sorry for the confusion, dude.

Voice of Elmo SUED Allegations of Crystal Meth Sex Parties

Kevin Clash, the longtime voice of Elmo, has been sued by a man who claims ... when he was a minor, Clash lured him to engage in lurid, crystal meth sex parties.

Sheldon Stephens says he was 16 when he met Clash at a social networking function for actors. Soon after, Stephens says the two began a sexual relationship that escalated over a period of years.

Stephens claims he was taken to Clash's New York lair by chauffeured limo. While there, he alleges Clash smoked crystal meth during their sexual escapades. He says Clash also gave him poppers to intensify the experience.

And, Stephens says, the chauffeur was in on it ... the driver allegedly masturbated while watching Clash and Stephens have sex.

TMZ broke the story ... Clash and Stephens had reached a settlement ... but Stephens disavowed it because it had a provision requiring him to say he was making the allegations up. The settlement money was never paid, and that's why Stephens filed the lawsuit.

Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" after the allegations of Stephens and other young men surfaced.

11:20 AM PT -- Clash's attorney released a statement addressing Stephens' lawsuit, saying, "Sheldon Stephens has already admitted in writing that he had 'an adult consensual relationship' with Mr. Clash ... Mr. Clash continues to deny any wrongdoing, and we intend to defend this case forcefully."

Voice of Elmo Sued by 4th Accuser

Kevin Clash has been sued by a 4TH accuser ... who claims he also had a sexual relationship with the former voice of Elmo while he was a minor ... TMZ has learned.

We've learned ... the accuser, who filed the lawsuit in federal court in NY under the name John Doe, claims he first met Clash in Miami Beach in 1995 or 1996 ... while Doe was 16 or 17 and Clash was in his mid '30s.

Doe claims ... Clash eventually flew him out to NYC and gave him money and a place to stay. During the trip, Doe claims the two had sex on multiple occasions.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Doe claims he's suffered tremendous emotional, mental and psychological damage as a result of the relationship.

TMZ spoke to Doe's attorney, Jeff Herman, who tells us, "According to our lawsuit, Kevin Clash knowingly paid to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of satisfying his sexual interests."

Of Clash's 4 accusers, only 3 have filed lawsuits. The first accuser struck a settlement with Clash and agreed not to pursue litigation.

We reached out to Clash for comment -- no word back.

Elmo Accuser #2 Expert Booty Popper [VIDEO]

Just two days before he laid the legal smackdown on Elmo voice actor Kevin Clash -- claiming Clash sexually abused him as a teenager -- Cecil Singleton laid the smackdown on STAGE ... dropping it like it's hot at a NYC drag show ... and we got the video.

Cecil took the stage at Lips Drag Show on November 18th in what appears to be some kind of dance battle.

We only see Cecil's dance part -- but it's safe to say he won ... at least based on the guy's insane moves ... easily performing a split, and booty-popping his way back onto his feet.

As we reported, Clash resigned from "Sesame Street" immediately after Cecil filed his lawsuit.

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!