- NAME: Fred Rogers
- OCCUPATION: Minister, Television Personality
- BIRTH DATE: March 20, 1928
- DEATH DATE: February 27, 2003
- EDUCATION: Rollins College, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Dartmouth College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Latrobe, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Full Name: Fred McFeely Rogers
- AKA: Mister Rogers
- AKA: Mr. Rogers
Best Known For
Fred Rogers is the much-loved host of the public television show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran on PBS from 1968 to 2001.
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Born on March 20, 1928, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Fred Rogers was a puppeteer and ordained minister who became the host of the TV program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. With a degree in music composition, he wrote 200 songs for the show, including the theme, "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." He was honored with numerous awards and accolades for his dedication to children via television.
"I'm not that interested in 'mass' communications. I'm much more interested in what happens between this person and the one person watching. The space between the television set and that person who's watching is very holy ground."
"Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people."
The beloved and longtime host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was an only child until the age of 11 when his parents, James and Nancy, adopted a baby girl.
After graduating from Latrobe High School, Rogers enrolled at Dartmouth College, where he studied for a year before transferring to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Rogers, who'd begun playing the piano at a young age, graduated magna cum laude in 1951 with a degree in music composition.
During his senior year of college he visited his parents and was awed by the family's newest household addition: a television set. He could see a fantastic future for the medium and, as he'd later recall, Rogers immediately decided he wanted to be a part of it.
Rogers' first job in television came in 1953 when he was hired to work in programming by WQED in Pittsburgh, a recently launched community TV station that was the first of its kind in the country.
By the following year, he was co-producing a new program, The Children's Corner. This allowed Rogers, who'd fallen in love with puppetry as a child, to introduce some of his favorite puppets from his home to his young audience.
As his experience grew, so did his aspirations. He earned his divinity degree in 1962, and at his ordination the Presbyterian Church asked him to serve children and families through television. Rogers made his first appearance the following year as Mister Rogers on a Canadian Broadcast System show called Misterogers. The program helped lay the groundwork in its look and approach for Rogers' later show.
Canada, however, was not where Rogers or his wife Joanne, whom he'd met at Rollins, wanted to raise their two young sons. Soon, the Rogers family was back in Pittsburgh, where Rogers launched Misterogers' Neighborhood in 1966. Two years later, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired on PBS stations throughout much of the country.
Over the course of its decades-long run, Rogers' show varied little. He approached his young audience with respect and a directness about issues children faced that were rarely touched on by other programs.
Ritual and the familiar appearance of some of TV's most enduring characters—including the deliveryman Mr. McFeely, X the Owl, Queen Sara Saturday and King Friday—helped keep the show fresh for generations of kids.
At the center of the show, of course, was Fred Rogers himself, a Protestant minister who worked as the series' producer, host and head puppeteer.
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