An actor known for his work on the long-running PBS series “Sesame Street” has died. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that David Langston Smyrl died Tuesday of lung cancer in a Pennsylvania medical center. He was 80.
The multitalented Smyrl, who was a singer, writer and voiceover artist in addition to his acting career, played Mr. Handford, the owner of Hooper’s Store, on the children’s program from 1990-1998.
His Muppet Wiki page notes that Smyrl began his career as a coffeehouse poet in the 1960s, and had a role in the Broadway musical “Working” in 1978. He later worked as a writer on “Benson” before a stint as a gag writer, audience warm-up man and recurring guest performer on “The Cosby Show.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Smyrl won eight Emmy Awards for his contributions to children’s programming.
His voice work can be heard in many commercials, including spots for Texaco, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, 501 Jeans, Canada Dry, Delta Air Lines and GMC.
Here’s a poignant clip from “Sesame Street” starring Smyrl …