Sonia Manzano Retiring: 'Sesame Street' Star Leaving Beloved Children's Series After Nearly 45 Years [VIDEO]

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After more than 40 years on Sesame Street, one of its most beloved members is saying goodbye.

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On Thursday, CNN announced that Sonia Manzano, who played shop owner Maria on the children's program, is retiring from the series. Maria was known for bringing Hispanic culture to the street while interacting with Elmo, Big Bird, Grover and the gang. She was on the series for almost 45 years.

The actress made her announcement at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco.

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In a post from Identities Mic, it was pointed out how Manzano's presence on the series created a diverse impact on how people of different cultures can become television icons. Nicole Martins, an assistant professor telecommunications at Indiana University of Arts and Science, previously mentioned how a lot of admirable television roles are for men while women typically have different traits.

"If you are a girl or a woman, what you see is that women on television are not given a variety of roles," Martins said. "The roles that they see are pretty simplistic; they're almost always one-dimensional and focused on the success they have because of how they look, not what they do or what they think or how they got there."

Due to Manzano's role on the popular kids' show, she will more than likely leave children the message that no matter what race or gender someone is, he or she can still be a legend.

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