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Sonia Manzano
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    (June 12, 1950- )
    Born in Linwood, New Jersey
    Portrays Maria Rodriguez on Sesame Street (1971- )
    Appeared in the original off-Broadway production of 'Godspell' (1970)
    Wrote the children's book 'No Dogs Allowed' (2004) and the young adult novel 'The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano' (2013)
    She said, 'I cannot stand auditioning. I take it personally, even though you’re not supposed to.'
    She was twice nominated for a Daytime Emmy as a performer without winning.
    Maria's relationship with Luis suddenly changed from friendship to romance because Manzano got pregnant and the show decided to incorporate it into the storyline but did not want to deal with single parenthood as well.
    Her real life daughter was cast as Maria's daughter, which she noted worked fine 'as long as all Gabi had to do was sit on my lap and stare at Big Bird.' But once her daughter started walking and talking, she complained that she did not like being on the show and was replaced.
    She joined the 'Sesame Street' writing staff in the 1980s and has won 15 Daytime Emmys as a writer.
    She served on the board of the March of Dimes.
    She was a trailblazer for Latina actresses.
    She said, 'The most overwhelming moment was when I met Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. And she said to me, 'I am in awe meeting you.' Me? It was quite touching.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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