Lloyd Morrisett Dead at 93
Lloyd Morrisett, one-half of the creative team behind the iconic educational children’s television series, Sesame Street has passed away. Morrisett leaves behind a significantly influential legacy that will outlive him and continue to benefit even future generations. He was 93 years old.
Morrisett’s death was announced by the official Twitter handle of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization he co-founded as Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) in 1968. “Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett, PhD, who died at the age of 93,” the tweet read. Further adding: “A Lifetime Honorary Trustee, 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.”
After a brief stint in academia which Morrisett found uninteresting for being overly serious, he winded up at the Carnegie Corporation, a philanthropic organization with education as its focal point, which later became the vehicle that helped finance his causes at Children’s Television Workshop. A year after establishing the company, Morrisett who had now risen the ranks to become the VP at Carnegie Corporation was seeking ways to facilitate accessibility to early education for children in need when he came up with the idea for Sesame Street. The idea was born after he noticed how his toddler was deeply engrossed in watching TV, prompting him to wonder if the TV set could serve as a medium for child learning. He shared the idea over dinner with his friend Joan Ganz Cooney and the rest is history.
Sesame Street premiered on PBS in 1969 as a first-of-its-kind kid’s learning program and received positive reception. The show utilized live-action and puppetry to educate kids, incorporating humor and cultural references. A true pioneer of kids learning, Sesame Street evolved through the years while gaining a growing influence that spilled into pop culture. The show deserves many commendations for remaining relevant despite the emergence of many other similar learning programs. Sesame Street began airing on HBO in 2016 before moving to the streaming platform HBO Max.
Morrisett was born on November 2, 1929, to a father who was a professor at UCLA. Raised to believe that a career in academia was the best job in the world, Morrisett took an early interest in education. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A in Philosophy before going on to do graduate work in psychology at UCLA and later earning a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Yale University. Morrisett would later become a trustee at Oberlin serving as the board chairman from 1975 to 1981. He also served as president of The John and Mary R. Markle Foundation from 1969 to 1998 and was equally the VP of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
“Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no ‘Sesame Street,’ Cooney said in his brief eulogy to his friend. “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.”
Our condolences are with Morrisett’s family at this difficult time.
‘Sesame Street’ co-creator Lloyd Morrisett dead at 93
‘Sesame Street’ first aired in 1969 as a way to educate children through television
“Sesame Street” co-creator Lloyd N. Morrisett has died at the age of 93, the “Sesame Workshop” announced on Tuesday.
“Sesame Workshop mourns the passing of our esteemed and beloved co-founder Lloyd N. Morrisett, PhD, who died at the age of 93,” the organization said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
It continued, “A Lifetime Honorary Trustee, 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.”
Morrisett co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop with Joan Ganz Cooney in 1968, and “Sesame Street” first aired in 1969.
The show “started with a single bold question: could television be used to educate kids?” the workshop says of its history on its website.
Calling Morrisett a “wise, thoughtful, and above all kind leader of the Workshop for decades,” the workshop quoted Cooney as saying. “Without Lloyd Morrisett, there would be no ‘Sesame Street.’ 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.”
Morrisett was chairman of Sesame Worship until 2000 and remained on the board until his death, according to Variety.