David Smyrl

David Smyrl

*David Smyrl, an actor best known for playing store owner Mr. Handford on “Sesame Street,” has died at age 80.

The Philadelphia native, who won a People’s Choice Award for his work on the ’80s sitcom “Benson,” died Tuesday months after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer, according to the Associated Press.

David Smyrl

David Smyrl

Smyrl also worked as a writer on “The Cosby Show,” on which he occasionally appeared as a contractor named Sam Lucas.

In 1990, he took over for Leonard Jackson as Mr. Hanford, the cheerful singing owner of Hooper’s Store on “Sesame Street.” He continued in the role until 1998.