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The Kindest Man in the World: Fred Rogers (video)

AP Photo / Gene J. Puskar

A video tribute to the beloved children's television host

Fred Rogers (March 20, 1928 – Feb. 27, 2003) changed the face of children’s educational television as the creator and host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The show, produced for 33 years in Pittsburgh and broadcast to homes across America on PBS, gave preschoolers a daily half hour of imaginative “make-believe” puppetry and gentle talk that encouraged every child’s inner life.

Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, took children’s television as his spiritual mission, but his show never evangelized for the church. His “Neighborhood” characters simply explored familiar American childhood scenarios while modeling kindness, love, and peaceful conflict resolution.

Rogers was a man of many talents: He wrote many of the songs that he sang on the show, as well as performing the puppets, and he wrote dozens of educational books — some intended for young children, some for their parents. He also testified in front of the United States Senate, helping personally to convince Congress that it was very important to fund public broadcasting for children.

Today, the Fred Rogers Company lives on after its founder’s passing, continuing to nurture America’s children by producing PBS’s much-loved animated spin-off series, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”

And fans still leave messages of love and respect for Mister Rogers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's online Legacy guestbook.