Eight-time Emmy Award winner David Smyrl is best known for his role as Mr. Langston Handford on the hit children’s show, “Sesame Street.” David Smyrl is the second-highest Emmy award winner as an actor in children’s programming. From 1990 to 1998, Smyrl starred on the award-winning children’s show as the man who owned Mr. Hooper’s store.

David Smyrl began his career in the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village in the 1960’s. He broke into television during the 1970’s on an east coast show called “Express Yourself.”

A former Broadway star, Smyrl joined the writers of the hit show “Benson” in 1980. Through this show, Smyrl was awarded a People’s Choice Award. He worked in freelance at Kaleidoscope Films in Hollywood before landing a job as a gag writer, audience warm-up man and actor on “The Cosby Show,” playing the role of Mr. Sam Lucas. Smyrl worked with Cosby for five years.

Smyrl moved forward to film after his work with “The Cosby Show.” He starred in “The Dream Keeper,” a documentary about poet Langston Hughes, as Jesse B. Simple. Later productions included “The Preacher’s Wife” opposite Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. During the mid 1980’s, Smyrl began working with PBS for “Voices and Visions.” By 1990 he was a regular on “Sesame Street” as Mr. Langston Handford.

Smyrl’s voice is recognized on many high-profile TV commercials, representing products for major companies such as Texaco, McDonalds, Pepsi, Coke, 501 Jeans, Canada Dry, Delta Airlines and GMC cars and trucks, to name a few. Aside from his voice-over work, Smyrl currently volunteers his time in schools, colleges and penal institutions, performing shows.

More information about David Smyrl and his upcoming performances can be found at

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One thought on “Little Known Black History Fact: David Langston Smyrl

  1. radbn on said:

    WOW ! who knew? There needs to be more positive exposure of black actors / actress / entertainers to general public. Stop flooding the media with the self hating blacks

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