Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Widow's Insurance Policy

Widow's Insurance Policy

More From Joan

In this video

Tagged as

Cooney shares why majoring in education was a very popular thing to do back in the day and how it actually wound up helping her when she was researching for Sesame Street.

Joan's Biography

Childhood Ambition:A nun, a mother, or an opera singer

First Paying Job:A clerk typist in the State Department

The Best Medicine:"I would rather laugh than do anything in the world... So I watch Jon Stewart every night to get some laughs."

All-Time favorite Sesame Street Segment:Herry & John John Count 20

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Cooney moved out east after college working as a publicist for the likes of RCA, NBC, and CBS's United States Steel Hour. It was at CBS when a colleague told her about educational television and her new career took off.
 
At a dinner party with Lloyd Morrisset, an executive at Carnegie Corporation, a conversation on whether children could learn from watching television spurned into a study on the topic funded by Carnegie Corporation and conducted by Cooney. The final report suggested a show like Sesame Street. With $8 million in funding, the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) was founded to produce the show. The first episode of Sesame Street premiered on PBS on November 10, 1969 to critical acclaim and high ratings, and after four decades remains a beloved children's television show.
 
Cooney was the first female non-performer to be inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton, was awarded an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2007, the Sesame Workshop founded The Joan Ganz Cooney Center, named in her honor.

Related Videos

Pamela Rief
Pamela Rief
Biomechanics Educator

Pamela Rief is a biomechanics education specialist, trainer, and the Co-Founder of the Strengthen Up Project. The project's mission is to educate people on biomechanics habits ...

Marin Alsop
Marin Alsop
First Woman Conductor of a Major American Orchestra

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Marin Alsop is a lot more than just the first female conductor of a major American orchestra. Alsop is also the Chief Conductor of the Sao ...

Dena Simmons
Dena Simmons
Educator

Dena Simmons is an activist, an educator, and also a student. Born to a resilient mother who escaped Antigua to come to the US, Simmons was raised in the Bronx and hopes to stay th...

Pat Schroeder
Pat Schroeder
Former Congresswoman

Pat Schroeder is a former United States Congresswoman who served on the House of Representatives for 24 years. Initially dismissed by colleagues on Capitol Hill because of her gend...