Lloyd Morrisett, the co-founder of Sesame Street, the beloved television show watched by millions of children around the world, has died at the age of 93.
Morrisett’s death was announced by Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit he helped co-found, on Tuesday. No details of his death were given.
Born on Nov. 2, 1929 in Oklahoma City, Morrisett was an only child. His father, also named Lloyd, was a UCLA professor starting in 1941, and his mother, Jesse, was a homemaker. Morrisett initially trained to become a teacher and in 1951, he received his B.A. in liberal arts from Oberlin College in Ohio. Afterwards, he pursued graduate work in psychology for two years at UCLA and earned his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Yale in 1956.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after spending two years teaching at UC Berkeley, Morrisett decided he “didn’t find teaching as satisfying as I thought I was going to … I was brought up to think it was the best life in the world,” so he quit to take a job with the Social Science Research Council in New York.”
He went on to work at at Carnegie Corporation, a philanthropic foundation that supports education, and explored new ways to educate children from less advantaged backgrounds. It was during his time there that he began to collaborate with Joan Ganz Cooney, a public television producer, to launch the Children’s Television Workshop.
In November 1969, they launched their first show, Sesame Street, which reached more than half of the U.S.’ 12 million three- to five-year-olds by the end of its first season. Today, Sesame Street has won nearly 200 Emmys and is the world’s largest informal educational source for youth, reaching millions of children and their families in more than 140 countries every year.