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‘Sesame Street’ producer, TV writer

From Times Wire Reports

Robert Cunniff, 81, a television writer and producer who shared an Emmy Award in the early 1970s as a producer of “Sesame Street,” died Jan. 20 at a nursing facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., after a long illness.

Cunniff, a producer for “Sesame Street” from 1972 to 1975, shared an Emmy Award with executive producer Jon Stone for outstanding achievement in children’s programming, in 1973.

Cunniff also was a writer for the “Today” show from 1963 to 1969 and was a member of the writing staff for “The Dick Cavett Show” from 1969 to ’72.

In 1976, he began a nearly one-year stint as producer/managing editor of “Good Morning, America.”

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He later conceived, co-wrote and executive-produced “Mouseterpiece Theater,” a popular Disney Channel series launched in 1983 featuring vintage Disney cartoons and George Plimpton as its host.

Born in Chicago on Sept. 13, 1926, Cunniff earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois.

After serving in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II, he earned a master’s degree in literature at the University of Chicago.

Cunniff went on to write for the Chicago Sun-Times and TV Guide, and he and fellow Chicagoan Tom O’Malley wrote a syndicated newspaper column about television, “Cunniff and O’Malley,” from 1954 to 1957.

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