Adria Gamache

Written by Adria Gamache

Modified & Updated: 29 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Sonia Manzano is a name that resonates with millions of fans around the world. Best known for her iconic role as Maria on the beloved children’s television show, “Sesame Street,” Sonia Manzano has made a lasting impact on generations of viewers. However, there is so much more to this talented actress and writer than meets the eye. From her groundbreaking work on-screen to her inspiring advocacy off-screen, Sonia Manzano has become a true icon in the entertainment industry and beyond. In this article, we will delve into the astounding facts about Sonia Manzano, shedding light on her remarkable career, personal journey, and lasting legacy. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to discover the extraordinary world of Sonia Manzano!

Key Takeaways:

  • Sonia Manzano, known for her role as Maria on “Sesame Street,” has inspired children for over 40 years with her diverse representation and educational contributions to the show.
  • Through her memoir, advocacy for diversity, and commitment to children’s education, Sonia Manzano continues to be a role model, leaving a lasting impact on generations of young minds.
Table of Contents

Sonia Manzano played Maria on “Sesame Street” for over 40 years.

Known for her iconic role as Maria, Sonia Manzano graced our screens as a beloved character on the long-running children’s show “Sesame Street” for more than four decades.

She was born on June 12, 1950, in New York City.

Sonia Manzano was born and raised in the vibrant city of New York, which would later play a significant role in her career and personal experiences.

Manzano is of Puerto Rican descent.

With her Puerto Rican roots, Sonia Manzano brought diversity and representation to the screen, becoming an influential figure for many young viewers.

She joined the “Sesame Street” cast in 1971.

Sonia Manzano’s journey on “Sesame Street” began in 1971 when she stepped into the role of Maria, a character that would leave a lasting impact on generations of children.

Manzano was also a writer on “Sesame Street.”

Besides her on-screen contributions, Sonia Manzano made significant contributions behind the scenes as a writer, helping to shape the educational content of the show.

She retired from “Sesame Street” in 2015.

After dedicating over four decades to “Sesame Street,” Sonia Manzano bid farewell to her beloved character Maria in 2015, leaving a void in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Manzano has won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards.

Throughout her career, Sonia Manzano’s outstanding performances and contributions to children’s television were recognized with several Daytime Emmy Awards.

She wrote a memoir titled “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.”

In her memoir, Sonia Manzano shares her journey of self-discovery, weaving in stories of her childhood in the South Bronx and her path to success in the entertainment industry.

Manzano’s memoir was a New York Times Best Seller.

“Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx” resonated with readers globally, earning a spot on the prestigious New York Times Best Seller list.

She has been an advocate for diversity in children’s media.

Throughout her career, Sonia Manzano has been at the forefront of promoting diversity and inclusion in children’s entertainment, empowering young minds and championing representation.

Manzano has been involved in educational projects and workshops.

Utilizing her expertise, Sonia Manzano has been actively involved in educational initiatives and workshops for children, focusing on literacy, creativity, and fostering imagination.

She has appeared in various theater productions.

In addition to her work on television, Sonia Manzano has showcased her talent on stage, captivating audiences with her performances in theater productions.

Manzano has received the Hispanic Heritage Award.

Recognizing her significant contributions to the Hispanic community and her dedication to promoting cultural understanding, Sonia Manzano was honored with the prestigious Hispanic Heritage Award.

She has been an influential voice in the Latino community.

Through her platform and advocacy work, Sonia Manzano has become a respected and influential figure for the Latino community, inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams.

Manzano has appeared on numerous talk shows and interviews.

Over the years, Sonia Manzano has made appearances on various talk shows and interviews, discussing her career, activism, and the impact of “Sesame Street” on children’s education.

She has been a vocal supporter of public broadcasting.

Sonia Manzano strongly believes in the power and importance of public broadcasting, advocating for its continued funding and highlighting the positive impact it has on children’s learning.

Manzano has been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Honoring her exceptional contributions to the world of children’s media, Sonia Manzano was bestowed with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, applauding her immense talent and dedication.

She continues to inspire generations of children.

Even after her retirement from “Sesame Street,” Sonia Manzano’s legacy lives on, as her inspirational portrayal of Maria continues to inspire and educate young minds around the world.

Manzano has engaged with fans through social media.

Staying connected with her audience, Sonia Manzano has embraced social media platforms, engaging with fans, sharing updates, and spreading positivity.

She has been recognized as a role model for women in entertainment.

Sonia Manzano’s remarkable career and dedication to her craft have earned her acclaim as a role model for aspiring women in the entertainment industry, breaking barriers and defying stereotypes.

Manzano has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Recognizing her immense contributions to the entertainment industry and her impact on children’s television, Sonia Manzano received a star on the prestigious Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She continues to advocate for children’s education and empowerment.

Sonia Manzano remains committed to making a positive difference in the lives of children, using her influence to advocate for quality education, inclusivity, and empowerment.

These 22 astounding facts about Sonia Manzano highlight her exceptional career, her commitment to diversity and education, and the lasting impact she has had on generations of children. From her iconic role as Maria on “Sesame Street” to her advocacy work and literary achievements, Sonia Manzano has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment and continues to inspire and educate through her storytelling and advocacy.


In conclusion, Sonia Manzano is truly an extraordinary individual with an impressive array of accomplishments. From her iconic role as Maria on Sesame Street to her work as an influential writer and activist, she has made a lasting impact on both the entertainment industry and society as a whole. Her dedication to education and her commitment to representing underrepresented voices have cemented her as a role model and inspiration to many. With her unforgettable performances, numerous awards, and significant contributions to children’s television, Sonia Manzano has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Her remarkable journey serves as a testament to the power of passion, determination, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. Sonia Manzano will forever be remembered as a true trailblazer and an irreplaceable presence in the world of celebrities.


1. What is Sonia Manzano best known for?

Sonia Manzano is best known for her portrayal of Maria on the beloved children’s TV show, Sesame Street.

2. Has Sonia Manzano received any awards for her work?

Yes, Sonia Manzano has been honored with several awards throughout her career, including 15 Emmy Awards.

3. Apart from acting, what other contributions has Sonia Manzano made?

Sonia Manzano is also a highly acclaimed writer and has written numerous books, including her memoir “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.”

4. How has Sonia Manzano made an impact on education?

As a passionate advocate for education, Sonia Manzano has dedicated her efforts to promoting literacy and educational opportunities for children.

5. What is Sonia Manzano’s role as an activist?

Sonia Manzano is an active voice in advocating for underrepresented communities and has used her platform to address issues such as diversity and social justice.

Sonia Manzano's incredible journey as Maria on "Sesame Street" and her advocacy for diversity in children's media have made her an iconic figure. If you enjoyed learning about Manzano, why not explore more fascinating facts about other notable individuals? Discover the brilliance behind "Mad Men" by delving into the life of television writer Matthew Weiner. For a nostalgic trip down memory lane, revisit the whimsical world of Laa-Laa from the beloved children's show "Teletubbies". And don't miss the chance to learn about another talented Puerto Rican actress, Roselyn Sanchez, who has made her mark in Hollywood.

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