'Sesame Street' Co-Creator Lloyd N. Morrisett Dead at 93

Lloyd N. Morrisett Jr., who co-founded Sesame Workshop and co-created Sesame Street, has died. He was 93. Morrissett and Joan Ganz Cooney founded Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit production company behind the beloved children's show, in 1968 as the Children's Television Workshop. A year later, Sesame Street, which they created with legendary puppeteer Jim Henson, debuted.

"Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no Sesame Street," Ganz Cooney, 93, said in a statement to Deadline. "It was he who first came up with the notion of using television to teach preschoolers basic skills, such as letters and numbers. He was a trusted partner and loyal friend to me for over fifty years, and he will be sorely missed."

"Lloyd leaves an outsized and indelible legacy among generations of children the world over, with Sesame Street only the most visible tribute to a lifetime of good work and lasting impact," Sesame Workshop added. "A wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader of the Workshop for decades, Lloyd was fascinated by the power of technology and constantly thinking about new ways it could be used to educate."

Morrisett was born in Oklahoma City on Nov. 2, 1929. His family moved to New York City during the Great Depression, but they later moved to California. He attended Oberlin College in Ohio, then returned to California to study psychology at UCLA. He earned a Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Yale University. During his time at the Carnegie Corporation, he developed an interest in early education. In 1965, Morrisett and Cooney began work on what would become the Children's Television Workshop, which was founded in May 1968.

After Sesame Street debuted, Morrisett served as president of the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation president, kick-staring the foundation's program in communications and information technology. He also stayed on as Sesame Workshop's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, later becoming a Lifetime Honorary Trustee.

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"We found that those children would enter school three months behind, and by the end of first grade, be a year behind – and get further and further behind," Morrisett said in an interview for the documentary Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. "And I wondered whether there was a possibility that television could be used to help children with school."

Morrisett also served as director of Tucows and was a member of the board of trustees of Public Agenda. He was also a trustee at Oberlin College and a board member at RAND Corporation. In 2019, Cooney and Morrisett were celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors for creating Sesame Street, with Big Bird, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby joining them.