David Smyrl, the Emmy-winning actor best known for his role as Mr. Handford, has died. He was 80.
Smyrl was diagnosed with lung cancer in January,revealed by his wife, Cheryl. He died on Tuesday at Lankenau Medical Center just outside Philadelphia. A Philadelphia native born on Sept. 12, 1935, Smyrl performed as a poet in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, his wife said. His television career also began in New York in the 1970s, on the show Express Yourself. Smyrl then moved to California to work on the sitcom Benson in the 1970s. He also worked as a writer and actor on The Cosby Show, playing contractor Sam Lucas. From 1990 to 1998, Smyrl played the store-owner,Mr. Handford on Sesame Street.
Cheryl and David Smyrl met in 1975 and were friends before they married in April 1992. Smyrl is also survived by his stepson, Pancho Scott.
A funeral is scheduled for Monday.