SESAME STREET/PBS/1969+ (Deaf)
Linda (Linda Bove), deaf librarian working in the magical neighborhood of Sesame Street
Linda debuted on the show as a librarian named Linda in episode #0326 in 1972. She became a regular member of the cast in late 1970s until she left the show in 2003. Her character is the longest-running TV role for a deaf performer. Before her role as Linda the Librarian, Bove had appeared on the program with the National Theater of the Deaf.
During the program, Linda checked books in and out of the library, interacted with the people of the Sesame Street neighborhood, and used American Sign Language to communicate with the patrons and others who entered her world.
When a member of the cast sang a song, Linda was nearby to interpret for the deaf viewers of the program. At the library, Linda’s assistant Micki (Micki Barnett) would read books to the children as Linda provided a translation using sign language.
Note: Linda Bove (rhymes with “glove”) was born deaf on November 30, 1945 in Garfield, New Jersey. Both her parents were deaf. She is a founding member of the National Theater of the Deaf. She met actor Ed Waterstreet (himself deaf) at this troupe. They married in 1970. In 1974, Linda received the AMITA–the Italian-American Award for her work on television.
In 1991, with husband Ed Waterstreet, she co-founded DeafWest Theater, a Los Angeles based sign language theatre.
Other Bove screen credits include the role of Allison, a pretty hearing-impaired woman (an electric company receptionist) who dated Arthur Fonzarelli on the episode “Allison” aired February 12, 1980 (Season 7, Episode #20) on the ABC sitcom HAPPY DAYS; and as Melissa Hayley during the 1973 season of SEARCH FOR TOMORROW where she became the first deaf actor to appear as a regular on a soap opera series. She also played the role of Marian Loesser, the understudy of Sarah Norman (Marlee Maitlin) in the film Children of a Lesser God.