RIP Alaina Reed Hall

Alaina Reed Hall, an actress who many American members of my cohort will fondly remember as Olivia from Sesame Street, and/or Rose from 227, has died at age 63 of breast cancer.

I absolutely adored Olivia when I was a little girl, falling absolutely in admiring awe of her—I thought she was so smart and so beautiful and so nice, and I wished I could sing as well as she did—before I was even old enough to understand that Reed Hall was not really a woman named Olivia who actually lived on Sesame Street.

A bunch of people writing obits for Reed Hall, including Dodai over at Jezebel, have posted one of my favorite "Olivia" moments on Sesame Street: Olivia singing and Linda (played by deaf actress Linda Bove) signing "Sing."

Olivia (speaking) and Linda (signing): Signing is a way of talking used by people can't hear, who are deaf. Linda is (I am) signing because Linda is (I am) deaf. Now, Linda's (I am) going to sign the word "sing." (Linda spells the word in ASL then makes the sign.) Then we're going to play a game. I'm (Olivia is) going to do a song with the word "sing" in it, and every time you hear it, sign the word! Sign "sing." (Olivia signs "sing.") I'll do it with you, 'k? "Sing." Remember, every time you hear it. "Sing."

[Music starts.]

Olivia (singing) and Linda (signing): Sing / Sing a song / Sing out loud / Sing out strong / Sing of good things, not bad / Sing of happy, not sad / Sing / Sing a song / Make it simple / To last your whole life long / Don't worry that it's not good enough / For anyone else to hear / Just sing / Sing a song / La la la la la / La la la la la la / La la la la la la la / La la la la la / La la la la la la / La la la la la la la / Sing!

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