In 1974, a teenager named Maria moved to Sesame Street, into an apartment above Gordon and Susan's.
She flashed her infectious smile, got a job at the lending library, and immediately became part of the family.
Viewers have watched Maria grow up. She was a first crush, a best friend, and a baby sitter, telling stories and making everyone laugh. She dated and then married Luis, and they later had a daughter, Gabi, who is now grown up. Maria and Luis own and run the Fix-It Shop, specializing in toaster repair.
In addition to acting on the show, Sonia writes for Sesame Street. As of 2007, she has received fifteen Emmy awards. Many of Manzano's scripts are based on her own life experiences; when she was pregnant with her daughter, her pregnancy was incorporated into the show's plotline.
Manzano starred in the original production of the off-Broadway musical Godspell. She has contributed to NPR's Selected Shorts series and performed in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Manzano attended New York City's High School of the Performing Arts and holds an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Notre Dame University. She was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004.