3 items from 2016
David Langston Smyrl, best known for playing Mr. Handford on the long-running PBS series Sesame Street, passed away last night at the age of 80. Philly.com reports that he died at the Lankenau Medical Center in Philadelphia after battling lung cancer. Here's what David Langston Smyrl's wife Cheryl Pajil Smyrl had to say about her husband in a statement.
"He was a funny man, a good man, and he always had jokes for you. He was loved by everyone, and very creative."
David Langston Smyrl grew up in North Philadelphia and started performing as a coffee house poet in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. He began his career in television in New York on a show called Express Yourself, and he appeared on the Broadway play Working in 1978 before moving to California to write for the hit sitcom, Benson. He won a People's Choice Award for his work on the show. »
Smyrl was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year, his wife, Cheryl, told the Associated Press.
“He was loved by so many people,” Cheryl Smyrl told the AP. “He was a mentor to a lot of children. He was a family man, loyal, true and faithful.”
Smyrl portrayed Handford — the cheerful, retired firefighter who ran Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street — from 1990 to 1998, taking over the role from Leonard Jackson, who had a much grumpier take on the beloved character.
“You get to act stupid,” Smyrl told the Connecticut newspaper the Record-Journal about what drew him to the role. “It’s fun! I get to do fun things like dance with Gloria Estefan.”
Born in north Philadelphia in 1935, he began his television career »
- Maane Khatchatourian
David Smyrl, an actor best known for playing store owner Mr. Handford on “Sesame Street,” has died at age 80. The Philadelphia native, who won a People’s Choice Award for his work on the ’80s sitcom “Benson,” died Tuesday months after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer, according to the Associated Press. Smyrl also worked as a writer on “The Cosby Show,” on which he occasionally appeared as a contractor named Sam Lucas. Also Read: Garry Shandling, 'Larry Sanders Show' Star, Dies at 66 In 1990, he took over for Leonard Jackson as Mr. Hanford, the cheerful singing owner of Hooper’s Store on. »
- Thom Geier
3 items from 2016
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