SONIA MANZANO Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Sonia Manzano                                                               
Born: 6 December 1950                                                             
Sonia Manzano (born December 6, 1950) is an American actress and writer. She is   
perhaps best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street since 1970. She also         
licenses her image to promote items of baby clothes and plates in Hispanic         
Manzano was born in the South Bronx, New York of Puerto Rican descent, and         
attended the High School of Performing Arts, where she began her acting career.   
Manzano attended the Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh on a scholarship.   
In her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of     
the off-Broadway show "Godspell". Within a year, Manzano joined the production     
of Sesame Street in 1973, where she eventually began writing scripts for the       
series. Sonia has won 15 Emmy Awards as part of the Sesame Street writing staff.   
Manzano has performed on the New York stage, in the critically acclaimed theatre   
pieces Vagina Monologues and "The Exonerated." She has written for the Peabody     
Award-winning children's series, "Little Bill," and has written a parenting       
column for the Sesame Workshop web site called "Talking Outloud".                 
Manzano's children's book, "No Dogs Allowed," published by Simon & Schuster       
Children's Publishing in 2004, is one of five books selected by the General       
Mills initiative "Spoonfuls of Stories." As part of that effort, Manzano is       
working with General Mills and its nonprofit partner, First Book, to encourage     
children to read and to help children across the United States gain access to     
Manzano was nominated twice for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a       
Children's Series. She has served on the March of Dimes Board; the board of the   
George Foster Peabody Awards; and the board of a New York City theatrical         
institution, Symphony Space. She was featured in the Learning Leaders (volunteers 
helping students succeed) poster, designed to encourage reading in NYC public     
Manzano has received awards from the Association of Hispanic Arts, the             
Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington DC, The National Hispanic Media       
Coalition, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, the Hispanic         
Heritage Award for Education in 2003, and the "Groundbreaking Latina Lifetime     
Achievement" award from the National Association of Latina Leaders in 2005. She   
received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from University of Notre Dame in       
2005. In 2004, she was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame.                       
Manzano has a licensing company called the Three Amigas. She resides in the       
Upper West Side with her husband and daughter, and is working on a second         
children's book and her memoirs.