Sesame Street actor David Smyrl has died. Best known for his role as Mr. Handford, the retired firefighter who ran Mr. Hooper’s store on the long-running PBS children’s series, Smyrl died Tuesday of lung cancer in Philadelphia, according to Philly.com He was 80.
The writer, actor, singer and voice-over artist began his TV career in New York in 1970 on the show Express Yourself. After a role in Broadway musical Working, he continued his TV work in Los Angeles, as a writer on Benson and as a gag writer, audience warm-up man and actor on The Cosby Show, playing contractor Sam Lucas in five episodes from 1985-87. He appeared on Sesame Street from 1991-95,
Smyrl also worked in film. He had a small role in The Preacher’s Wife opposite Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston and appeared in The Dream Keeper, a documentary about the poet Langston Hughes. His voice-over work included commercials for Texaco, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Canada Dry, Delta Air Lines, and GMC. He most recently appeared on syndicated TV series Heavy Sedation in 2006, according to IMDb.