Lisa Simon, a longtime producer and director on Sesame Street, died in New York City on April 4, her 64th birthday. The winner of 20 Emmys over a career spanning than four decades started with a summer job as a file clerk and a caretaker for children who appeared on the show during its early days. She ended up staying with the show while attending night classes at Hunter College to finish her B.A. in communications.

Working her way up from production assistant in Season 1 to producer in Season 12 and continuing through Season 24, Simon began directing in the 13th season. With a knack for using humor to put children, actors and celebrity guests at ease, she continued directing through current Season 45. She also produced several Sesame Street home videos including Elmocize, Zoe’s Dance Moves and Big Bird Sings! She also directed episodes of Plaza Sesamo, the Latin American Sesame Street co-production. Simon also produced and directed other children’s programs including Between The Lions, Big Bag, Bear In The Big Blue House, Oobi and Wonder Pets!

Simon’s charitable endeavors included setting up a tour with Sesame Street performers to visit children and families affected by Hurricane Katrina and, apart from her work connected with the show, leading a relief team in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami.

Most recently, Simon consulted on the served as a creative consultant to the local production team of the new Sesame Street co-production planned for Abu Dhabi. She was also working with the Sprout network and was slated to direct episodes for Sesame Street’s 46th season later this month.