David Smyrl

Actor David Smyrl, known for his role on Sesame Street as Mr. Handford, the retired firefighter who ran Hooper’s Store, has died at the age of 80.

Smyrl died of complications from lung cancer at the Lankenau Medical Center outside Philadelphia, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Cheryl Smyrl said her husband was diagnosed with lung cancer in January.


"He was funny," Cheryl Smyrl said. "I could say so many good things about him. He was loved by so many people. He was a mentor to a lot of children. He was a family man, loyal, true and faithful."

Smyrl was a Philly native and started out as a poet in New York City's Greenwich Village in the 1960s. He got his first shot at acting when he landed a role on the show Express Yourself in the '70s. From there he worked on Benson as a writer and went on to appear on The Cosby Show.