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Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was known as the creator, composer, producer, head writer, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001). The program was marked by its slow pace and its host's quiet manner. He was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and had a difficult childhood in which he was isolated and bullied.


Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers 2002.jpg
Rogers receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002
Born
Fred McFeely Rogers

(1928-03-20)March 20, 1928
DiedFebruary 27, 2003(2003-02-27) (aged 74)
Other namesMister Rogers
EducationDartmouth College
Rollins College (BA)
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (MDiv)
University of Pittsburgh
OccupationChildren's television presenter, actor, puppeteer, singer, composer, television producer, author, educator, Presbyterian minister
Years active1951–2001
Spouse(s)
Joanne Byrd (m. 1952)
Children2
Official nameFred McFeely Rogers (1928–2003)
TypeRoadside
DesignatedJune 25, 2016
Signature
FredRogersSignature.svg

After earning a bachelor's degree in music from Rollins College in 1951, Rogers began working in television, initially at NBC in New York. He returned to Pittsburgh in 1953 to work for children's programming at NET (later PBS) television station WQED. He graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963, and attended the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development, where he began his 30-year long collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland. Rogers worked off-camera helping produce the children's show The Children's Hour, and then in 1963, worked on the 15-minute, black-and-white Canadian children's show Misterogers, where he developed many of the characters, props, and sets he used later. In 1968 he returned to Pittsburgh to produce Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran for almost 900 episodes, until 2001. The program emphasized the child's developing psyche, feelings, sense of moral and ethical reasoning, civility, tolerance, sharing, and self-worth. Difficult topics such as the death of a family pet, sibling rivalry, the addition of a newborn into families, moving and enrolling in a new school, and divorce were also addressed.

Rogers died on February 27, 2003 of stomach cancer. His work in children's television has been widely lauded, and he received over 40 honorary degrees and several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999. Rogers influenced many writers and producers of children's television shows, and served as a source of comfort during tragic events, even decades after his death.

Contents

Early life

 
Main Street, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Rogers' birthplace.
 
Photo of Fred Rogers as a senior in high school.

Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, about 40 miles (64 km) outside of Pittsburgh, at 705 Main Street[1] to James and Nancy Rogers. James was "a very successful businessman"[2] who was president of the McFeely Brick Company, one of Latrobe's largest businesses. Nancy's father, Fred Brooks McFeely, after whom Rogers was named, was an entrepreneur.[3] Nancy knitted sweaters for American soldiers from western Pennsylvania who were fighting in Europe and regularly volunteered at the Latrobe Hospital. Initially dreaming of becoming a doctor, she settled for a life of hospital volunteer work. Rogers grew up in a three-story brick mansion at 737 Weldon Street in Latrobe.[4][1] He had a sister, Elaine, who was adopted by the Rogerses when he was 11 years old.[4] Rogers spent much of his childhood alone, playing with puppets, and also spent time with his grandfather. He began to play the piano when he was five years old.[5]

Rogers had a difficult childhood. He was shy, introverted, and overweight, and was frequently homebound after suffering bouts of asthma.[2] He was bullied and taunted as a child for his weight, and called "Fat Freddy".[6] According to Morgan Neville, director of the 2018 documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, Rogers had a "lonely childhood... I think he made friends with himself as much as he could. He had a ventriloquist dummy, he had [stuffed] animals, and he would create his own worlds in his childhood bedroom".[6]

Rogers attended Latrobe High School, where he overcame his shyness.[7] "It was tough for me at the beginning," Rogers told NPR's Terry Gross in 1984. "And then I made a couple friends who found out that the core of me was okay. And one of them was...the head of the football team".[8] Rogers served as president of the student council, was a member of the National Honor Society and was editor-in-chief of the school yearbook.[7] He attended Dartmouth College for one year before transferring to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida; he graduated magna cum laude[3] in 1951 with a degree in music composition.[5]

Rogers graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained a minister of the United Presbyterian Church in 1963.[9]

Television career

External audio
  Terry Gross and Fred Rogers, Fresh Air with Terry Gross[10]

Early work

Rogers wanted to enter seminary after college, but instead chose to go into television after encountering a TV at his parents' home in 1951. In a CNN interview, he said, "I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there's some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen".[11][note 1] After graduating in 1951, he worked at NBC in New York City as floor director of Your Hit Parade, The Kate Smith Hour, and Gabby Hayes's children's show, and as an assistant producer of The Voice of Firestone.[14][15][16]

 
WQED headquarters in Pittsburgh

In 1953 Rogers returned to Pittsburgh to work as a program developer at public television station WQED. Josie Carey worked with him to develop the children's show The Children's Corner, which Carey hosted. Rogers worked off-camera to develop puppets, characters, and music for the show. He used many of the puppet characters developed during this time, such as Daniel the Striped Tiger (named for WQED's station manager, Dorothy Daniel, who gave Rogers a tiger puppet before the show's premiere),[17] King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday (named for Rogers' wife),[18] X the Owl, Henrietta, and Lady Elaine, in his later work.[19][20] Children's television entertainer Ernie Coombs was an assistant puppeteer.[21] The Children's Hour won a Sylvania Award for best locally produced children's programming in 1955 and was broadcast nationally on NBC.[22][23][24] While working on The Children's Hour, Rogers attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963. He also attended the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development,[25][24] where he began working with child psychologist Margaret McFarland, who according to Rogers biographer Maxwell King became his "key advisor and collaborator" and "child-education guru".[26] Much of Rogers' "thinking about and appreciation for children was shaped and informed" by McFarland.[25] She was his consultant for most of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood's scripts and songs for 30 years.[26]

In 1963 CBC in Toronto contracted Rogers to develop and host the 15-minute black-and-white children's program Misterogers; it lasted from 1963 to 1967.[21][27] It was the first time Rogers appeared on camera. CBC's children programming head Fred Rainsberry insisted on it, telling Rogers, "Fred, I've seen you talk with kids. Let's put you yourself on the air".[28] Coombs joined Rogers in Toronto as an assistant puppeteer.[21] Rogers also worked with Coombs on the children's show Butternut Square from 1964 to 1967. He acquired the rights to Misterogers in 1967 and returned to Pittsburgh with his wife, his two young sons, and the sets he developed at the CBC, despite his potentially promising career with the CBC and no job prospects in Pittsburgh.[29][30] (Coombs remained in Toronto, creating the long-running children's program Mr. Dressup, which ran from 1967 to 1996.)[31] Rogers' work for CBC "helped shape and develop the concept and style of his later program for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the U.S."[32]

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

 
Rogers screens the tape replay with Betty Aberlin and Johnny Costa in 1969.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (also called the Neighborhood), a half-hour educational children's program starring Rogers, began airing nationally in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes.[33] The program was filmed at WQED in Pittsburgh and was picked up and aired nationally by National Educational Television (NET), which later became the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).[34][35] Its first season had 180 black-and-white episodes. Each subsequent season, filmed in color and funded by PBS, the Sears-Roebuck Foundation, and other charities, consisted of 65 episodes.[36][37] By the time the program ended production in December 2000, its average rating was about .7 percent of television households, or 680,000 homes, and it aired on 384 PBS stations. At its peak in 1985-1986, its ratings were at 2.1 percent, or 1.8 million homes.[38][39] Production of the Neighborhood ended in December 2000, and the last original episode aired in 2001, but PBS continued to air reruns; by 2016 it was the third-longest running program in PBS history.[37][40]

 
Neighborhood Trolley from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set at WQED studios in Pittsburgh.
 
A sweater worn by Rogers, on display in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History
 
Rogers and François Clemmons reprising their famous foot bath in 1993. The scene was a message of inclusion during an era of racial segregation.

Many of the sets and props in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, like the trolley, the sneakers, and the castle, were created for Rogers' show in Toronto by CBC designers and producers. The program also "incorporated most of the highly imaginative elements that later became famous"[41] on the program, such as its slow pace and its host's quiet manner.[42][41] The format of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood "remained virtually unchanged" for the entire run of the program.[43] Every episode begins with a camera's-eye view of a model of a neighborhood, then sweeping in closer to a representation of a house as an instrumental piano version of the theme song, "Won't You be My Neighbor?", by music director Johnny Costa and inspired by a Beethoven sonata, is played.[44] The camera zooms to a model representing Mr. Rogers' house, then cuts to the house's interior, panning across the room to the front door, which Rogers opens as he sings the theme song to welcome his visitors while changing his suit jacket to a zippered cardigan (knitted by his mother),[45] and his dress shoes to sneakers, "complete with a shoe tossed from one hand to another".[46]

The episode's theme is introduced, and Mr. Rogers leaves his home to visit another location, the camera panning back to the neighborhood model and zooming to the new location as he enters it. When the visit to the new location ends, Mr. Rogers leaves and returns to his home, indicating that it is time to visit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Mr. Rogers heads over to the window seat by the trolley track and sets up the action there as the Trolley comes out. The camera follows it down a tunnel in the back wall of the house as it enters the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The stories and lessons told there take place over a series of a week's worth of episodes and involve puppet and human characters. The end of the visit occurs when the Trolley returns to the same tunnel from which it emerged, reappearing in Mr. Rogers' home. He then talks to the viewers before wrapping up the episode. He often feeds his fish, cleans up any props he has used, and returns to the front room, where he sings the closing song while changing back into his dress shoes and jacket. He exits the front door as he ends the song, and the camera zooms out of his home and pans across the neighborhood model as the episode ends.[note 2]

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood emphasized young children's social and emotional needs, and unlike another PBS show, Sesame Street, which premiered in 1969, did not focus on cognitive learning.[47] Writer Kathy Merlock Jackson said, "While both shows target the same preschool audience and prepare children for kindergarten, Sesame Street concentrates on school-readiness skills while Mister Rogers Neighborhood focuses on the child's developing psyche and feelings and sense of moral and ethical reasoning".[48] The Neighborhood also spent fewer resources on research than Sesame Street, but Rogers used early childhood education concepts taught by his mentor Margaret McFarland, Benjamin Spock, Erik Erikson, and T. Berry Brazelton in his lessons.[49] As the Washington Post noted, Rogers taught young children about civility, tolerance, sharing, and self-worth "in a reassuring tone and leisurely cadence".[50] He tackled difficult topics such as the death of a family pet, sibling rivalry, the addition of a newborn into a family, moving and enrolling in a new school, and divorce.[50] For example, he wrote a special segment that dealt with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy that aired on June 7, 1968, days after it occurred.[51]

According to King, the process of putting each episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood together was "painstaking"[52] and Rogers' contribution to the program was "astounding".[53] Rogers wrote and edited all the episodes, played the piano and sang for most of the songs, wrote 200 songs and 13 operas, created all the characters, both puppet and human, played most of the major puppet roles, hosted every episode, and produced and approved every detail of the program.[53] The puppets created for the Neighborhood of Make-Believe "included an extraordinary variety of personalities".[54] They were simple puppets but "complex, complicated, and utterly honest beings".[55] In 1971 Rogers formed Family Communications, Inc. (FCI, now The Fred Rogers Company), to produce The Neighborhood, other programs, and non-broadcast materials.[56][57]

Rogers speaks to Congress in 1969 in support of PBS.

In 1975 Rogers stopped producing Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood to focus on adult programming. Reruns of the Neighborhood continued to air on PBS.[58] King reports that the decision caught many of his coworkers and supporters "off guard".[59] Rogers continued to confer with McFarland about child development and early childhood education, however.[60] In 1979, after an almost five-year hiatus, Rogers returned to producing The Neighborhood; King calls the new version "stronger and more sophisticated than ever".[61] King writes that by the program's second run in the 1980s, it was "such a cultural touchstone that it had inspired numerous parodies",[12] most notably Eddie Murphy's parody on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s.[12]

Rogers retired from producing the Neighborhood in 2001, at the age of 73, although reruns continued to air. He and FCI had been making about two or three weeks of new programs per year for many years, "filling the rest of his time slots from a library of about 300 shows made since 1979".[39] The final original episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired on August 31, 2001.[62]

Other television work

In 1978, while on hiatus from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Rogers wrote, produced, and hosted a 30-minute interview program for adults on PBS called Old Friends...New Friends.[63][64] It lasted 20 episodes. Rogers' guests included Hoagy Carmichael, Helen Hayes, Milton Berle, Lorin Hollander, poet Robert Frost’s daughter Lesley, and Willie Stargell.[63][65]

Rogers appeared as the first guest on the long-running Soviet children's TV show Good Night, Little Ones!, on December 7, 1988, which coincided with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's summit with American president Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. The Soviet program's host, Tatyana Vedeneyeva, also appeared on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in a series of episodes about Rogers' visit to the Soviet Union.[66]

In 1994 Rogers wrote, produced, and hosted a special for PBS called Fred Rogers' Heroes, which featured interviews and portraits of four people from across the country who were having a positive impact on children and education.[67][68]

The only time Rogers appeared on television as someone other than himself was in 1996 when he played a preacher on one episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.[5]

Personal life

Rogers met Sara Joanne Byrd (called "Joanne") from Jacksonville, Florida, while attending Rollins College. They were married in 1952 and were married for 50 years, until his death in 2003. They had two sons, James and John.[69][70] Joanne was "an accomplished pianist",[71] who like Fred earned a bachelor's from Rollins, and went on to earn a master's degree in music from Florida State University. She performed publicly with her college classmate, Jeannine Morrison, from 1976 to 2008.[71][72] According to biographer Maxwell King, Rogers' close associates said he was "absolutely faithful to his marriage vows".[73]

Rogers was red-green color-blind.[74][75] He became a vegetarian in the 1970s, saying he "couldn't eat anything that had a mother".[76] He became a co-owner of Vegetarian Times in the mid-1980s[76] and said in one issue, "I love tofu burgers and beets".[77] He told Vegetarian Times that he became a vegetarian for both ethical and health reasons.[77] According to King, Rogers also signed his name to a statement protesting wearing animal furs.[76]

Rogers studied Catholic mysticism, Judaism, Buddhism, and other faiths and cultures.[76][78] King called him "that unique television star with a real spiritual life",[78] emphasizing the values of patience, reflection, and "silence in a noisy world".[76] King reported that despite Rogers' family's wealth, he cared little about making money, and lived frugally, especially as he and his wife grew older.[79][80] King reported that Rogers' relationship with his young audience was important to him. For example, since hosting Misterogers in Canada, he answered every letter sent to him by hand. After Mister Rogers' Neighborhood began airing in the U.S., the letters increased in volume and he hired staff member and producer Hedda Sharapan to answer them, but he read, edited, and signed each one. King wrote that Rogers saw responding to his viewers' letters as "a pastoral duty of sorts".[81]

The New York Times called Rogers "a dedicated lap-swimmer",[82] and Tom Junod, author of "Can You Say...Hero?", the 1998 Esquire profile of Rogers, said, "Nearly every morning of his life, Mister Rogers has gone swimming".[74] Rogers began swimming when he was a child, at his family's vacation home outside Latrobe, where they owned a pool, and during their winter trips to Florida. King wrote that swimming and playing the piano were "lifelong passions" that "both gave him a chance to feel capable and in charge of his destiny,[83] and that swimming became "an important part of the strong sense of self-discipline he cultivated".[84] Rogers swam daily at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, after waking every morning between 4:30 and 5:30 A.M. to pray and to "read the Bible and prepare himself for the day".[84] He did not smoke or drink.[82] According to Junod, he did nothing to change his weight from the 143 pounds he weighed for most of his adult life; by 1998, this also included napping daily, going to bed at 9:30 P.M., and sleeping 8 hours per night without interruption. Junod said Rogers saw his weight "as a destiny fulfilled",[74] telling Junod, "the number 143 means 'I love you.' It takes one letter to say 'I' and four letters to say 'love' and three letters to say 'you'".[74]

Rogers gave "scores of interviews".[85] Even though he was reluctant to appear on television talk shows, King reported that he would usually "charm the host with his quick wit and ability to ad-lib on a moment’s notice".[86] He was "one of the country's most sought-after commencement speakers",[82] making over 150 speeches.[85] Rogers' friend and colleague David Newell reported that Rogers would "agonize over a speech",[87] and King reported that Rogers was the most unguarded during his speeches, which were about children, television, education, his view of the world, how to make the world a better place, and his quest for self-knowledge. His tone was quiet and informal but "commanded attention".[85] He would instruct his audiences to remain silent and think about someone who had a good influence on them for 10 seconds in many speeches, including the ones he made accepting a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997,[82] for his induction into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999,[74] and his final commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 2002.[88]

Death and memorials

After Rogers' retirement in 2001, he remained busy working with FCI, studying religion and spirituality, making public appearances, traveling, and working on a children's media center named after him at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe with Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, chancellor of the college.[89] By the summer of 2002 his chronic stomach pain had become severe enough for him to see a doctor about it, and in October 2002 he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.[90] He put off treatment until after he served as Grand Marshal of the 2003 Rose Parade, with Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby in January.[91] On January 6, Rogers underwent stomach surgery. He died less than two months later, on February 27, 2003.[92][93] He died one month before he was to turn 75 years old, at his home in Pittsburgh, with his wife of 50 years, Joanne, at his side. While comatose shortly before his death, he received the last rites of the Catholic Church from Archabbot Nowicki.[94][93] He was survived by his wife, two sons, and three grandsons.[5]

The following day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covered Rogers' death on the front page and dedicated an entire section to his death and impact.[93] The newspaper also reported that by noon, the internet "was already full of appreciative pieces" by parents, viewers, producers, and writers.[95] Rogers' death was widely covered. Most U.S. metropolitan newspapers ran his obituary on their front page, and some dedicated entire sections to coverage of his death. WQED aired programs about Rogers the evening he died; the Post-Gazette reported that the ratings for their coverage were three times higher than their normal ratings. That same evening, Nightline on ABC broadcast a rerun of a recent interview with Rogers; the program got the highest ratings of the day, beating the February average ratings of Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[96] On March 4, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution honoring Rogers sponsored by Representative Mike Doyle from Pennsylvania.[97]

On March 1, 2003, a private funeral was held for Rogers in Unity Chapel, which was restored by Rogers' father, at Unity Cemetery in Latrobe. About 80 relatives, co-workers, and close friends attended the service, which "was planned in great secrecy so that those closest to him could grieve in private".[98] Reverend John McCall, pastor of the Rogers family's church, Sixth Presbyterian Church in Latrobe, gave the homily, and Reverend William Barker, a retired Presbyterian minister who was a "close friend of Mr. Rogers and the voice of Mr. Platypus on his show",[98] read Rogers' favorite Bible passages. Rogers was interred in a mausoleum owned by his mother's family.[98]

On May 3, 2003, a public memorial was held at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh. According to the Post-Gazette, 2,700 people attended. Violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Yo-Yo Ma (via video), and organist Alan Morrison performed in honor of Rogers. Barker officiated the service; also in attendance were Pittsburgh philanthropist Elsie Hillman, former Good Morning America host David Hartman, The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle and Arthur creator Marc Brown. Businesswoman and philanthropist Teresa Heinz, PBS President Pat Mitchell, and executive director of The Pittsburgh Project Saleem Ghubril gave remarks.[99] Jeff Erlanger, who at the age of 10 appeared on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in 1981 to explain his electric wheelchair, also spoke.[100] The memorial was broadcast several times on Pittsburgh television stations and websites throughout the day.[101]

Legacy

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.
—Fred Rogers
Whenever a great tragedy strikes—war, famine, mass shootings, or even an outbreak of populist rage—millions of people turn to Fred’s messages about life. Then the web is filled with his words and images. With fascinating frequency, his written messages and video clips surge across the internet, reaching hundreds of thousands of people who, confronted with a tough issue or ominous development, open themselves to Rogers’ messages of quiet contemplation, of simplicity, of active listening and the practice of human kindness.[102]
—Rogers biographer Maxwell King

Marc Brown, creator of another PBS children's show, Arthur, considered Rogers both a friend and "a terrific role model for how to use television and the media to be helpful to kids and families".[103] Josh Selig, creator of Wonder Pets, credits Rogers with influencing his use of structure and predictability, and his use of music, opera, and originality.[104]

Rogers inspired Angela Santomero, co-creator of the children's television show Blue's Clues, to earn a degree in developmental psychology and go into educational television.[105] She and the other producers of Blue's Clues used many of Rogers' techniques, such as using child developmental and educational research, and having the host speak directly to the camera and transition to a make-believe world.[106] In 2006, three years after Rogers' death and after the end of production of Blue's Clues, the Fred Rogers Company contacted Santomero to create a show that would promote Rogers' legacy.[105] In 2012, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, with characters from and based upon Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, premiered on PBS.[107]

Rogers' style and approach to children's television and early childhood education also "begged to be parodied".[108] Comedian Eddie Murphy parodied Mister Rogers Neighborhood on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s.[109][12] Rogers told interviewer David Letterman in 1982 that he believed parodies like Murphy's were done "with kindness in their hearts".[110]

In 2018, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, director Morgan Neville's documentary about Rogers' life, grossed over $22 million and became the top-grossing biographical documentary ever produced, was the highest-grossing documentary in five years, and became the 12th largest-grossing documentary ever produced.[111][112]

According to Caitlin Gibson of the Washington Post, Rogers became a source for parenting advice, calling him "a timeless oracle against a backdrop of ever-shifting parenting philosophies and cultural trends".[111] Robert Thompson of Syracuse University noted that Rogers "took American childhood—and I think Americans in general—through some very turbulent and trying times,"[109] from the Vietnam War and the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968, to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. In the years since Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ceased production in 2001 and his death in 2003, Rogers has, according to Asia Simone Burns of National Public Radio, "been a source of comfort, sometimes in the wake of tragedy".[109] Burns has said Rogers' words of comfort "began circulating on social media"[109] following tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, the Manchester Arena bombing in Manchester, England in 2017, and the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018.

Awards and honors

 
The Fred Rogers Memorial Statue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Created by Robert Berks, and opened to the public on November 5, 2009.
 
Rogers being presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2002
Year Honor Notes Ref.
1975 Ralph Lowell Award Given by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in recognition of "outstanding contributions and achievements to public television". [113]
1987 Honorary member, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity for male musicians who have adopted music as a career. [114]
1991 Pittsburgh Penguins Celebrity Captain Part of the National Hockey League (NHL)'s 75th anniversary. Rogers was one of 12 celebrity captains to be selected for the 1992 Pro Set Platinum collection. [115][116]
1992 Peabody Award Awarded "in recognition of 25 years of beautiful days in the neighborhood".[117] [118]
1995 National Patron, Delta Omicron Awarded by the international professional music fraternity, to musicians who have attained "a national reputation in his or her field".[119] [120]
1999 Television Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Erlanger appeared during ceremony as a surprise guest. [121]
2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom The highest American civilian honor; awarded by President George W. Bush. [122]

[123]

2002 Commonwealth Award Given by PNC Financial Services, "celebrating the best of human achievement". [124]
2003 International Astronomical Union asteroid designation Asteroid 26858 Misterrogers named in Rogers' honor, discovered by Eleanor Helin in 1993. [125][126]
2008 "Sweater Day" Tribute to Rogers on what would have been his 80th birthday (March 20), by FCI. People all over the word were encouraged to wear a sweater honoring Rogers' legacy and the final event in a six-day celebration in Pittsburgh. [127][128]
2015 "Sweater drive" Rogers honored by the Altoona Curve, a Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team wore commemorative jerseys that featured a printed facsimile of Rogers' cardigan and tie ensemble, and then were auctioned off, with the proceeds going to the local PBS station, WPSU-TV. [129]
2018 Stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service Dedicated on March 23 at WQED. [130][131]
2018 Google Doodle In honor of the 51st anniversary of the premiere of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (September 21). Created in collaboration with Fred Rogers Productions, The Fred Rogers Center, and BixPix Entertainment. [132][133]

Museum exhibits

  • Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Exhibit created by Rogers and FCI in 1998. It attracted hundreds of thousand of visitors over 10 years, and included, from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, one of his sweaters, a pair of his sneakers, original puppets from the program, and photographs of Rogers. The exhibit traveled to children's museums throughout the country for eight years until it was given to the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans as a permanent exhibit, to help them recover from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 2007 the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh created a traveling exhibit based on the factory tours featured in episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.[135][136][137]
  • Heinz History Center permanent collection (2018). In honor of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and what would have been Rogers' 90th birthday.[138]

Art pieces

There are several pieces of art dedicated to Rogers throughout Pittsburgh. They include a 7,000-pound, 11-foot high bronze statue of him in the North Shore neighborhood; his portrait included in the Martin Luther King, Jr. and the "Interpretations of Oakland" murals in Oakland, a statue of a dinosaur titled "Fredasaurus Rex Friday XIII", which originally stood in front of the WQED building and as of 2014 stands in front of the building that contains the Fred Rogers Company offices, also in Oakland; the "Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe" attraction in Idlewild Park; and a kiosk of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood artifacts at Pittsburgh International Airport.[139]

Honorary degrees

Rogers has received honorary degrees from over 43 colleges and universities. After 1973, two commemorative quilts, created by two of Rogers' friends and archived at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, were made out of the academic hoods he received during the graduation ceremonies.[140][141]

Note: The below list is taken from "Honorary Degrees Awarded to Fred Rogers",[142] unless otherwise stated.

Filmography

Television

Published works

Children's books

  • Our Small World (with Josie Carey, illustrated by Norb Nathanson), 1954
  • The Elves, the Shoemaker, & the Shoemaker's Wife (illustrated by Richard Hefter), 1973
  • The Matter of the Mittens (illustrated by Beverly Townsend Vilcins), 1973
  • Speedy Delivery (illustrated by Richard Hefter), 1973
  • Mister Rogers Talks About, 1974
  • Mister Rogers Talks to Kids, 1974
  • Time to Be Friends, 1974
  • Everyone is Special (illustrated by Jason Art Studios), 1975
  • Tell Me, Mister Rogers, 1975
  • Trolley Golden Shape Book (illustrated by Jason Art Studios), 1975
  • The Costume Party (illustrated by Jason Art Studios), 1976
  • Lost Little Boy (illustrated by Beverly Townsend Vilcins), 1977
  • Planet Purple (illustrated by Dennis Hockerman, 1986
  • If We Were All the Same (illustrated by Pat Sustendal), 1987
  • A Trolley Visit to Make-Believe (illustrated by Pat Sustendal), 1987
  • Wishes Don't Make Things Come True (illustrated Pat Sustendal), 1987
  • No One Can Ever Take Your Place (illustrated by Pat Sustendal), 1988
  • When Monsters Seem Real (illustrated by Pat Sustendal), 1988
  • You Can Never Go Down the Drain (illustrated Pat Sustendal), 1988
  • The Giving Box (illustrated by Jennifer Herbert), 2000
  • Good Weather or Not (with Hedda Bluestone Sharapan, illustrated by James Mellet), 2005
  • Josephine the Short Neck-Giraffe, 2006
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers Neighborhood (illustrated by Luke Flowers), 2009
  • Henrietta Meets Someone New (illustrated by Jason Art Studios), 2019

First Experiences series:

  • Going to Day Care, 1985
  • The New Baby, 1985
  • Going to the Potty, 1986
  • Going to the Dentist, 1987
  • Going to the Doctor, 1987
  • Making Friends, 1987
  • Moving, 1987
  • Going to the Hospital, 1988
  • When a Pet Dies, 1988
  • Going on an Airplane, 1989

Let's Talk About It series:

  • Going to the Hospital (illustrated by William Panos), 1977
  • Having an Operation (illustrated by Ruth Brunner-Strosser), 1977
  • So Many Things To See! (illustrated by Lynn Dahoney), 1977
  • Wearing a Cast (illustrated by George Gaadt), 1977
  • Adoption, 1998
  • Divorce, 1998
  • Extraordinary Friends, 2000
  • Stepfamilies, 2001

Songbooks

  • Tomorrow on the Children's Corner (with Josie Carey, illustrated by Mal Wittman), 1960
  • Mister Rogers' Songbook (1970)
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (Five Finger Pattern Piano), 1984
  • Mister Rogers' Songbook (Big Note Piano), 1984
  • Mister Rogers' Songbook (Easy Piano), 1997
  • Mister Rogers' Songbook (EZ Play), 2018

Books for adults

  • Many Ways to Say I Love You (book & record), 1977
  • Mister Rogers Talks to Parents (with Barry Head, illustrated by Jim Prokell), 1983
  • Mister Rogers' Playbook (with Barry Head, illustrated by Jamie Adams), 1986
  • How Families Grow (with Barry Head), 1988
  • Mister Rogers Talks with Families About Divorce (with Clare O'Brien), 1994
  • Dear Mister Rogers, 1996
  • Mister Rogers' Playtime, 2001
  • The Mister Rogers Parenting Book, 2002
  • The World According to Mister Rogers, 2003
  • You Are Special: Words of Wisdom from America's Most Beloved Neighbor, 2004
  • Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers, 2005
  • The Mister Rogers Parenting Resource Book, 2005
  • Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom For Parents And Children, 2019

Discography

  • Around the Children's Corner (with Josey Carey), 1958
  • Tomorrow on the Children's Corner (with Josie Carey), 1959
  • King Friday XIII Celebrates, 1964
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?, 1967
  • Let's Be Together Today, 1968
  • Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe, 1968
  • A Place of Our Own, 1970
  • You Are Special, 1970
  • Come On and Wake Up, 1972
  • 21 Favorite Songs From Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, 1973
  • Mister Rogers Sings For Those Times When..., 1973
  • Wishes Don't Make Things Come True (cassette and book), 1987
  • No One Can Ever Take Your Place (cassette and book), 1988
  • When Monsters Seem Real, 1988
  • You're Growing, 1992
  • Bedtime, 1992
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor? (cassette and book), 1994
  • Coming and Going, 1997
  • Many Ways To Say I Love You (audiobook) (read by Joel Grey, Jill Clayburgh, Lily Rabe, and Keith David), 2006

See also

Notes

  1. ^ According to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood producer Hedda Sharapan, Rogers used television to communicate his message;[12] David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the Neighborhood, said, "Television was a vehicle for Fred, to reach children and families; it was sort of a necessary evil".[13]
  2. ^ See Wolfe, pp. 9–16 for a complete description of the structure of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

References

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  3. ^ a b Woo, Elaine (February 28, 2003). "It's a Sad Day in This Neighborhood". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  4. ^ a b King (2018), p. 19
  5. ^ a b c d DeFranceso, Joyce (April 2003). "Remembering Fred Rogers: A Life Well-Lived: A look back at Fred Rogers' life". Pittsburgh Magazine. Archived from the original on January 3, 2005. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
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  8. ^ Gross (1984), event occurs at 4.27.
  9. ^ Jacobson, Lisa (February 11, 2013). "Remembering Mr. Rogers". Presbyterian Historical Society. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  10. ^ "Terry Gross and Fred Rogers". Fresh Air with Terry Gross. NPR. February 28, 2003. Retrieved January 21, 2019. Show originally aired 1985
  11. ^ Schuster, Henry (February 27, 2003). "Fred and me: An appreciation". CNN.com. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d King, p. 266
  13. ^ King, p. 265
  14. ^ Hendrickson, Paul (November 18, 1982). "In the Land of Make Believe, The Real Mister Rogers". Washington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  15. ^ Gross (1984), event occurs at 6.38.
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  17. ^ Tiech, p. 10
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  47. ^ King, p. 145
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Works cited

External links