Sesame Street's 'Mr. Handford,' David Smyrl Dead at 80 - NBC Bay Area

Sesame Street's 'Mr. Handford,' David Smyrl Dead at 80



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    A Sesame Street sign in New York, part of the 30th anniversary of the live touring stage shows based on the PBS television series on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010.

    An Emmy-winning actor best known for his role as Mr. Handford, the retired firefighter who ran Hooper's Store on "Sesame Street," has died. David Smyrl was 80.

    Smyrl's wife, Cheryl, says he died Tuesday of lung cancer at Lankenau Medical Center outside Philadelphia.

    Smyrl started his television career in New York in the 1970s on the show "Express Yourself." His work on the sitcom "Benson" in the 1970s earned him a People's Choice Award. He also worked as a writer and actor on "The Cosby Show," playing contractor Sam Lucas.

    From 1990 to 1998, Smyrl played the smiling, singing store owner on "Sesame Street." He succeeded Leonard Jackson, who played a grumpier Handford.

    A funeral was scheduled for Monday.