Roscoe Orman’s contract with Sesame Street as “Gordon Robinson” ended in 2016, but his acting career did not. While fans were incensed over news he and other longtime human characters were “fired” and would no longer make regular appearances on the show, Orman has a busy acting career today.
Orman was the third actor to play Gordon, stepping into the role in 1973. He spoke to Time as Sesame Street celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2014, and discussed the ways the show endeavored to teach children how to deal with challenges in life.
“We’ve tackled some pretty significant issues over the years,” he said. “Adoption, death. In recent years we did a video dealing with divorce, another very tough issue, in ways that I think empower parents to discuss them with their children and also give children a sense of feeling affirmed.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Sesame Street Fans Were Outraged Over News Orman, Bob McGrath & Emilio Delgado Were ‘Fired’ in 2016
Longtime fans of Sesame Street voiced outrage in 2016 after news three longtime beloved characters – Gordon, Bob and Luis – would no longer appear on the show when their contracts ended. Orman no longer regularly appears on the show, but he still represents Sesame Street at public appearances.
Showrunners were quick to respond to the news in 2016, saying actors Orman, McGrath and Delgado could return to the show and said there were “misunderstandings.” Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey D. Dunn told Today they could return to the show and called the trio “a key part of the Sesame family.”
The news they were cut from the show came amidst major changes to the Sesame Street format. Dunn said at the time he planned to meet with the actors to see how they could fit into the half-hour show.
Dunn released a statement at the time, which said:
In our latest season, the story lines written did not include appearances by these three actors and we certainly could have done a better job of communicating with them about our ongoing episode plans.
I have been in touch with each of them to meet in person about how we best adapt their talents to the current content needs and preschool media landscape, in a way that honors their historic contributions.
We are very grateful for the many loyal fans of Sesame who continue to care so deeply about the show and what it means to them.
A previous statement from Sesame Street described the actors as “a treasured part” of the show and said the three actors would continue representing Sesame Street at public events, but said the show was “evolving.” The statement said the changes were made due to “evolving our content and curriculum, and hence, our characters, to meet the educational needs of children.”
Orman told Today at the time he was planning to meet with the TV show’s executives.
“Due to your overwhelming reaction regarding the status of myself and others on the show, the new producers of Sesame Street have reached out to us with an expressed desire to continue our longstanding relationship, to be initiated with a meeting in September,” he said in a statement.
McGrath said the show was undergoing a “major” retooling on a Muppet cast podcast at the time.
“HBO has gotten involved also, and they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka — who is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us — and Chris Knowings, who is also young,” he said.
Orman Has Continued His Career as an Actor & Remembers His Time on Sesame Street Fondly
Orman has not expressed any hard feelings about Sesame Street publicly. In fact, he remembers his time on the show fondly, and describes his time as “Gordon” among his proudest moments in his memoir, “Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of an Actor.”
“If I could boast of no other major career accomplishment, having played a central role as I have in the development and continuation of this landmark series would alone have made my life sufficiently meaningful,” he wrote in the book. “The historical significance of Sesame Street and its surprising longevity have made my association with the show, in many regards, my life’s crowning achievement.
Orman’s acting career did not end with his Sesame Street contract, his IMDB profile shows. He has appeared in shows and movies since then, including The Night Of, Blue Bloods, All These Small Moments, New Amsterdam, Holiday Rush, You Can’t Take My Daughter and Last Resort.