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Were Emilio Delgado and Sonia Manzano really married on Sesame Street?

Sonia manzano emilio Delgado
Sonia Manzano pictured at the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards were she was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Pic credit: ©ImageCollect.com/Byron Purvis/AdMedia

Emilio Delgado aka Luis from Sesame Street died on March 10. His cause of death was blood cancer. Delgado was 81 years old.

Undoubtedly Delgado’s most famous role was the part of Luis, owner of the Fix It store on the most famous street in America.

Perhaps Delgado’s most famous moment on the show came as Sesame Street entered its 19th season when Luis became engaged to Maria, played by Sonia Manzano.

Delgado was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2020. According to multiple media reports on the day of his death, Delgado was in hospice care in the lead-up to his sad death.

Emilio Delgado and Sonia Manzano were never really married

At the time of his death, Delgado had been married to his wife Carole for 32 years having married in 1990. The couple lived together in New York City.

In an interview with the California Institute of the Arts’ website, Delgado graduated as a theatre major from the school in 1971, he discussed his theory as to why so many fans believed that Manzano was his wife.

Delgado said, “To this day, there are fans out there who want to believe that the Luis and Maria wedding episode in 1988 was real. The fact of the matter is, it was just terrific acting.”

Sonia Manzano married her husband Richard Reagan in 1986

The Washington Post poured more cold water over the theory that Manzano and Delgado were really married in a 2015 feature. The piece describes Manzano has having married her husband Richard Reagan in 1986.

The Post feature notes that during the early 1990s when Manzano became pregnant in real life, the pregnancy was written into Sesame Street. Their daughter is named Gabriela “Gabi” Rodriguez.

The idea of Maria and Luis getting together was originally Manzano’s idea

In 1988, the year that the Luis and Maria’s wedding aired, the Associated Press reported that the idea of the character’s becoming an item was Manzano’s idea.

Manzano told the agency that she went to the Sesame Street producers to tell them that she and her real-life husband were thinking about starting a family. From there, the show’s writers came up with the idea of having a Sesame Street wedding.

The show’s director of research, Valeria Lovelace, told the AP, “One of the major questions we were faced with was what do preschool children know about love and marriage and would they be interested.”

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