- 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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He also wrote the scripts and songs.
"The world is not always a kind place," he said, talking about his show. "That's something all children learn for themselves, whether we want them to or not, but it's something they really need our help to understand."
In the very first show that aired on PBS,
Fred Rogers began the program much as he would over the next 33 years by walking through the front door of his television house and trading in his raincoat and suit jacket for a zippered sweater. The sweaters soon became as much a part of the program as the puppets. In all, Rogers had about two dozen of them, all made by his mother. In 1984, the Smithsonian Institution chose to put one of the famous sweaters on exhibit.
During its long run, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood attracted well known guests such as Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis and earned Rogers several awards for the program's excellence. The honors included four daytime Emmys, a 1997 Lifetime Achievement award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and, in 2002, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1999, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
Rogers' commitment to children, however, wasn't limited to the TV set. In 1968, he served as chairman of a White House forum on child development and the mass media, and was often consulted as an expert or witness on those issues.
"Those of us in broadcasting have a special calling to give whatever we feel is the most nourishing that we can for our audience," Mr. Rogers said. "We are servants of those who watch and listen."
As his program crossed into its fourth decade, Rogers began to slow down. Over the last few years of its run, the host curtailed his production schedule to 15 or so episodes a year. In December 2000, he taped his final episode, though PBS aired original programs until August 2001.
In December 2002, doctors diagnosed Rogers with stomach cancer. He underwent surgery the following month, but it did little to slow the disease down. On February 27, 2003, with his wife Joanne at his side, Rogers died at his home in Pittsburgh.
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