10 Latino Characters Who Made Their Way to Sesame Street

There's a new non-felt resident on Sesame Street -- and he's Latino! After a nine-month search for a bilingual performer, 26-year-old Puerto Rico native Ismael Cruz Cordova will portray Mando, a tech-savvy writer. He makes his debut on the show's 44th season, which will focus on Latino culture. Here's a chronological look at the prominent Latino characters who have helped make sunny days A-OK:

1. Sesame Street: Luis

Character Name: Luis (Emilio Delgado)

On the Street: 1971-present

Role: Mexican American Delgado was the first human addition to the original all-furry cast, in 1971. Luis is the friendly neighborhood handyman who frequently teaches children about Latino traditions. He runs the Fix It Shop with his wife, Maria. 

2. Sesame Street: Maria

Character Name: Maria (Sonia Manzano)

On the Street: 1971-present

Role: Maria is queen of Sesame Street, as far as we’re concerned. She moved into the barrio as a young boricua teen, married Luis and eventually became a mom. The Emmy-winning Puerto Rican actress also writes for the show, often incorporating her real-life experiences into her scripts. Take a bow, Maria, you’re one of a kind. 

3. Sesame Street: Rafael

Character Name: Rafael (Raúl Juliá)

On the Street: 1971-1972

Role: Puerto Rican theater legend Julia did a one-year stint as a boricua repairman who opened the original Fix It Shop with Luis and taught Spanish to neighborhood kids. 

4. Sesame Street: Osvaldo El Grunon

Character Name: Osvaldo El Gruñón

On the Street: 1979–early 1990s

Role: The first bilingual Muppet on Sesame Street was Oscar the Grouch’s Puerto Rican counterpart, Osvaldo (voiced by Latino puppeteer Gabriel Velez). He’s conniving, miserable and dirty—in other words perfect grouch material. 

5. Sesame Street: Gabi

Character Name: Gabi (Gabriela Reagan, Desiree Casado)

On the Street: 1989-present

Role: Luis and Maria’s daughter, Gabi, has gone from a baby (originally played by Manzano’s daughter, Gabriela Reagan) to a college student who helps the Muppets solve problems.

6. Sesame Street: Rosita

Character Name: Rosita

On the Street: 1991-present

Role: The turquoise monster’s full name is Rosita, La Monstrua de las Cuevas. This cheerful Muppet, voiced by Mexican puppeteer Carmen Osbahr, regularly whips out her guitar to sing bilingual songs. 

7. Sesame Street: Carlo

Character Name: Carlo (Carlo Alban)

On the Street: 1993-1998

Role: In 2011, the Ecuadorean actor revealed that he kept his undocumented status a secret while portraying inquisitive Latino teenager Carlo, who worked at Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street

8. Sesame Street: Marco

Character Name: Marco Jefferson (Matthew Napoli)

On the Street: 2006-present

Role: In a special Hispanic Heritage Month–themed episode, Colombian superstars Sofia Vergara and Juanes taught Marco (Guatemalan child actor Napoli), veterinarian Gina’s adopted son from Central America, about his Latino roots. 

9. Sesame Street: Ovejita

Character Name: Ovejita

On the Street: 2008-present

Role: The lavender-colored lamb gives Murray the Monster clues in Spanish about the school they’ll visit next in the recurring segment Murray Has a Little Lamb. Ovejita, who is also voiced by Osbahr, jumps so high she often lands, Spiderman-style, on Murray. 

10. Sesame Street: Mando

Character Name: Armando/Mando (Ismael Crúz Cordova)

On the Street: 2013

Role: The Puerto Rican actor portrays Mando, a techie with a passion for writing poetry, movie scripts and plays.