Fred Rogers
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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74.

Rogers died at his Pittsburgh home, said family spokesman David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the show. Rogers had been diagnosed with stomach cancer sometime after the holidays, Newell said.

"He was so genuinely, genuinely kind, a wonderful person," Newell said. "His mission was to work with families and children for television. ... That was his passion, his mission, and he did it from day one."

From 1968 to 2000, Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, produced the show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED. The final new episode, which was taped in December 2000, aired in August 2001, though PBS affiliates continued to air back episodes.

Rogers composed his own songs for the show and began each episode in a set made to look like a comfortable living room, singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," as he donned sneakers and a zip-up cardigan.

"I have really never considered myself a TV star," Rogers said in a 1995 interview. "I always thought I was a neighbor who just came in for a visit."

His message remained simple: telling his viewers to love themselves and others. On each show, he would take his audience on a magical trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where his puppet creations would interact with each other and adults.

Rogers did much of the puppet work and voices himself.

Rogers taught children how to share, deal with anger and even why they shouldn't fear the bathtub by assuring them they'll never go down the drain.

During the Persian Gulf War, Rogers told youngsters that "all children shall be well taken care of in this neighborhood and beyond – in times of war and in times of peace," and he asked parents to promise their children they would always be safe.

"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility," he said in 1994. "It's easy to say 'It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.'

"Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

Rogers came out of broadcasting retirement last year to record four public service announcements for the Public Broadcasting Service telling parents how to help their children deal with the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"They don't understand what an anniversary is, and if they see the tragedy replayed on television, they might think it's happening at that moment," he said.

Rogers' show won four Emmy Awards, plus one for lifetime achievement. He was given a George Foster Peabody Award in 1993, "in recognition of 25 years of beautiful days in the neighborhood."

At a ceremony marking the show's 25th anniversary in 1993, Rogers said, "It's not the honors and not the titles and not the power that is of ultimate importance. It's what resides inside."

The show's ratings peaked in 1985-86 when about 8 percent of all U.S. households with televisions tuned in. By the 1999-2000 season, viewership had dropped to about 2.7 percent, or 3.6 million people.

One of Rogers' red sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

As other children's programming opted for slick action cartoons, Rogers stayed the same and stuck to his soothing message.

Rogers was born in Latrobe, 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. He was ordained in 1962 with a charge to continue his work with children and families through television.

He studied early childhood development at the University of Pittsburgh's graduate school and consulted for decades with the late Dr. Margaret McFarland, an eminent child development expert at the university. The show examined the tribulations of childhood, including anger, fear, even a visit to the dentist.

Off the set, Rogers was much like his television persona. He swam daily, read voraciously and listened to Beethoven. He once volunteered at a state prison in Pittsburgh and helped set up a playroom there for children visiting their parents.

Rogers was an unseen puppeteer in "The Children's Corner," a local show he and Josie Carey launched at WQED in 1954. In seven years of unscripted, live television on the show, he developed many of the puppets used in "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," including King Friday XIII, Daniel Striped Tiger and Curious X the Owl.

Rogers accepted an offer to develop his own 15-minute show in Canada. He brought the show, called "Misterogers," back to Pittsburgh and in February 1968 began its public broadcasting debut.

Rogers' gentle manner was the butt of some comedian's jokes. Eddie Murphy parodied him on "Saturday Night Live" in the 80's with his "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood," a routine Rogers found funny and affectionate.

Rogers is survived by his wife, Joanne, a concert pianist; two sons and two grandsons.


Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press



To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Mar. 2, 2003.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Memories & Condolences
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3583 entries
May 6, 2021
One of several shows I allowed my young children to watch. God bless his wife, his children.
Jim
Neighbor
May 6, 2021
One of several shows I allowed my young children to watch. God bless his wife, his children.
Jim
Neighbor
March 24, 2021
My dad name is Ted his gown up watching mister Rogers neighborhood
His loved Fred Rogers
Luff Ted
Friend
February 9, 2021
Jane Barron
January 20, 2021
Mr. Rogers,

As a kid I loved your show, the jazzy closing, trolley, King Friday, and the model of your neighborhood in the opening and closing. As an adult I've come to appreciate the message of love and acceptance your were trying to tell the children. As and adult I try to do the same to the children and young people in my life.

Sean,

Neighbor
Sean Sasser
Neighbor
January 18, 2021
Victor Mercado

The Bronx
January 16, 2021
Joanne Rogers
Neighbor
January 16, 2021
Thank you,Bro.Fred Rogers,for your Puppet Family,Trolley & Legacy with Everlasting Heavenly Love
Tomasina J. Sinnott
Neighbor
January 16, 2021
My Deepest Condolences to Rogers & Byrd Families with Heavenly Love
Tomasina J. Sinnott
Neighbor
December 3, 2020
My dear Mr Rogers,
You were such an important part of my childhood. You taught me so many important things, like being kind to one another, discipline, making and keeping friends and the importance of a good imagination. My parents had 5 kids is 6 years. I often felt like just a face in the crowd. YOU taught me that I AM SPECIAL--& not just for me--but GENERATIONS of kids. It was nice seeing you grow older throughout the years as you were on the air from 1968-2001! THANK YOU for your gift of just YOUR being you!! You are missed not just by Joanne, you 2 sons & frinds, but by the MILLIONS of us who need you now more than ever! The PBS stations across the USA would be wise to keep "Mr Rogers Neighborhood" on the air forever. God Rest your soul dear man : ^ ) .March 8, 2018
Gina Siracuse Halbur
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey pusateri
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey pusateri
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey pusateri
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
Joey pusateri
Friend
December 2, 2020
I love you so much your the best neighbor ever
Joey pusateri
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
I love you so much your the best neighbor ever
Joey pusateri
Neighbor
December 2, 2020
I love you so much your the best neighbor ever
Joey
Neighbor
October 26, 2020
Mr Rogers you made my childhood so special and taught me how important it is to be Kind to others God will bless you forever thank you for all you've done for this world
JOY Casey
Friend
September 10, 2020
I always kept you in prayer so that you could guide others!
Victor Mercado
August 26, 2020
I Grew up watching Mr.Rogers...im old school...a latch kid...with the stringed key around the neck..come home from school lock the door Homework chores..then PBS...mr.rogers neighborhood....i learned how to tie my shoes watching Mr.rogers...there will only be 1mr.rogers....the memories....the memories...im 52 years old.....and I still know every word......its a beautiful day in the neighborhood......I still watch the old episodes for the memories.....They live on forever....thank God....for sharing Mr.rogers with us....Christopher W.Bellsr....
Christopher Bell
Friend
July 22, 2020
Joanne my 2 children and all 9 of my grandchildren and myself watched Mr. Roger's Neighborhood for years. My son and daughter are now in their forties and my grandchildren are late teens to mid twentys. I was 18 and am 65 now. We loved watching his show. We felt we knew him and daily watched. I wish we could have met him. We all loved him and he was a big part by of our family daily. I still watch his show when I can as it brings alot of precious memories to me. We knew he was a very loving caring wonderful person. We will always love and cherish him.
We miss him and will never forget who Fred McFeely Rogers is how special he is and what true loving kind neighbor he really entruly is. God Bless you Mr. Rogers. God Bless you Joanne your sons and grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. All our Love Cookie Campbell and family
Cookie Campbell
Neighbor
March 25, 2020
Dear Joanne Rogers and James Byrd Rogers
Sorry lost Fred Rogers Rest In Peace Fred Rogers I miss you
Luff Spencer
March 18, 2020
We all miss you very much.
Matthew Jahnke
March 4, 2020
You will always be my neighbor, Mr. Rogers. I grew and learned some of what I hope are the best parts of myself from my parents and you. Thank you for just being you. ♥
Erica Neal
Neighbor
February 24, 2020
MAY YOU REST IN PEACE. YOU ARE SO MISSED IN OUR SOCIETY, OUR CHILDREN NEED YOU MORE NOW THAN EVER
Robeta McGuire
January 28, 2020
I hope your happy in the big neighborhood in the sky.
January 21, 2020
i Miss you every day Mr Rodgers my best memories with my sons were watching Mr Rodgers Neighborhood together . My oldest so. Woukd cry when Mr Rodgers
My sweet little Momma
January 21, 2020
LORRAiNIE LEE RiPKE
January 20, 2020
RAiNiE
January 19, 2020
The Real Me
January 19, 2020
My sons watching the MR ROGERS NEIGHBORHOD
RAiNiE RiPKE
January 19, 2020
MR & MRS FRED ROGERS,
MY SONS AND i WATCHED the tv SHOW TOGETHER .
MY REMAiNiNG SON SHAWN, WOULD CRY EVERYTIME MR ROGERS SAiD GOODBYE AT THE END OF THE SHOW.
NOW MY SONS WH DIED ALONG THE WAY ARE IN HEAVEN WITH
MR ROGERS
GOD BLESS EVERYONE FROM LORRAiNE LEE
Lorraine Lee Williams
January 18, 2020
Hi Rodgers family.
I thiught my wirds would be with the pictures. Me and my sons all watched Mr Rodgers tv show. Now they are in heaven with him
January 18, 2020
i loved watching the Mr Rodgers neighborhood with my sons
Lorraine Lee Williams
January 18, 2020
Now my sons are with you
Lorraine Lee Williams
December 18, 2019
I am watching your show on dvd now. I wish every show was available to watch. You made me feel loved. You still do. You were a blessing to me and still are. Thank you !
Debbie Paschen
Neighbor
December 18, 2019
Rest In Peace forevermore, Mr. Rogers, your Earthly Talent is indisputable , you truly made your mark with the complete success of your TV show ! Amen.<br />
Jennifer Frenkil
Acquaintance
December 17, 2019
May , you, Mr. Rogers, Rest in the Most Serene Peace in Heaven forevermore ! God Bless All who knew and loved you , personally!
You are now within the deepest, everlasting embrace of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, unto the day that your family and friends are Reunited with you again one day in Heaven, I pray! I loved your Earthly talent , I miss it so much, Amen ! You would have so admired this Christmas 2019 new film , A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, starring, Tom Hanks, if still here, In this fan's Loving Memory forevermore, You did have the Best Talent over all within the existence of Hollywood at any point in time , please know , while you ride All the Clouds above All that you are watching over now !
Jennifer Frenkil
December 6, 2019
I now realize why I am colorblind. I remember once a women, who watched me after school, asked me about a student I was talking about, I was referring to my friend Luz. The women said to me oh the black girl' ; I being only 10 years old attending parochial grammar school, avid watcher of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, looked at her and said no, she is not, she is Luz Santos, my friend.'

I didn't understand racism at the time or how people were labeled; black, white, special. Mr Rogers instilled in his viewers that we are beyond labeling each other, we all have gifts God has given us to share with the world. We need to be more colorblind like that of the innocence of a child; racism and bigotry are learned traits that we must not pass to our next generation.

Miss you Mr Rogers!! My Grampa was buried the day you passed and I cried more tears for you than I did for him. That is the impact you had in my life!

God bless all who grew up with you
Anonymous Anonymous
November 22, 2019
His message of be kind is one I wish more people would adhere too.
Buena Montgomery
October 30, 2019
sue curtis
October 30, 2019
miss you Fred Roger
sue curtis
October 30, 2019
Thank you
Fred was the best Tv host He is kind and funny good singer and freind on Tv
sue curtis
October 1, 2019
I watched you growing up and have come to appreciate you even more in my adult years. I know you are resting peacefully with God as no one deserves Eternal Peace more.
anonymous anonymous
August 13, 2019
I love you mr. Rogers
I love you mr.rogers
Luff Spencer
August 13, 2019
It's a beautiful day in this neighbourhood
Luff Spencer
August 12, 2019
I love you mr. Rogers
Luff Spencer
August 4, 2019
Mr. Rogers nice men my dad big fan of you small boy me baby watch too
Luff Spencer
April 11, 2019
See you in Heaven, Mister Rogers. I love you.
Nicole Saperstein
March 21, 2019
Me. Rogers,
If you're reading this from Heaven, please know that you made a difference in the lives of my sons. You also taught me some positive and loving things about children.
Thank you so much.
S.L. Castrini
Sandra Castrini
March 20, 2019
Happy Birthday Mr Rogers! One of my most vivid memories from my childhood is watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. It was the high point of my day. I grew up in foster homes and was a shy child, the one constant in my life was Mr. Rogers. I taught my grandkids the theme song to the show. Thank you Fred Rogers for all the years you dedicated to helping children. Rest In Peace
Barbara Jordan
March 19, 2019
Rest in peace Mr. Rogers. You were a big part of my childhood. Everyday I would watch you on television. I was bullied alot when i was younger and you made me feel special and loved just the way i was. Thank you Mr. Rogers. I like you just the way you are
Billie Werts
March 19, 2019
Thank you for all the wonderful years you given millions of Children with your show even after all these years your still sadly missed thank you Mr Rogers
DARREN DELSO-OPFER
March 19, 2019
Changed my life as a child by instilling love, compassion and gentleness into my personal moralistic creed towards others and life as well.
Joni Moore
March 19, 2019
Met u once after a show in Toledo oh. Signed a 33,rpm album for me, I still have. So very kind God bless always my friend.
Larry Skrdla
March 9, 2019
Thanks for letting me be your neighbor.
February 28, 2019
Thank you for all you did for millions and millions of people. I'm a better person because of you!
Father Anthony Grossi
February 10, 2019
Thank you for being an angel on earth for our youngest souls.
Mike Hawkes
February 9, 2019
Mr. Rogers. A loving, caring, truthful, honest, passionate, dedicated, real, human. A million words would apply. He helped many feel special, loved, & being theirselves. Children & adults of all ages. He was everything & then some. He is missed. Heaven is showing him how special he is. RIP. You deserve to.
Mark Smith
November 19, 2018
frances
frances a pastore
November 13, 2018
We really enjoyed what causes you stood for. Our fondest memory is of Jeff Erlanger who showed that a true friend loves you for yourself. LIBBY DYER your cousin always said the same things as you!
August 27, 2018
Dear Mr Rogers I was born in 1962 I would watch you on Television I remember being so drawn to your show recently a Documentary aired on my cable for you to buy called Won't you be my neighbor well I want to say it was the best money I have ever spent on television cause I am rediscovering your messages of Love and Hope And forgiveness and mostly about loving your neighbor and yourself in this crazy world we live in today I'm so glad you reached out from Heaven to help us once again with your peaceful messages thru this tool called television as you use to say use it for Good thank you Mr Rogers for being you cause I LIKE YOU ❤
August 27, 2018
Marie Quick
July 25, 2018
Mr. Rogers. I started watching your show when I was little with my sister. I loved your shows. My sister even changed her jacket every time you did. I remember when it was time for you to come on and my sister came in my room saying it's time for Mister Rogers. We would watch you together. I'm 30 years old now and I just found out that you have books that you wrote. I'm going to read them. Fly high Mr. Rogers .
Ashley Ryan
June 24, 2018
Mr. Rogers,
Thank you for giving me the courage to be just the way I am. I watched your show when I was little and now I am a therapist working with kids. Thank you.
June 19, 2018
Hi how are you i will miss him. Rip. I watched his show when i was younger. He seemed like a nice guy. My condolences to his family his family wife etc. Take care bye.
Mr jody Brachman
April 18, 2018
I Love Watching your show Fred Rogers. Rest in Peace.
Cristina McMahan
April 17, 2018
I'm thinking about you my dear friend.
Cristina McMahan
April 17, 2018
I Loved watching your show. It Helped me during some tough times in my life because I was born with Cerebral Palsy.
Cristina McMahan
March 23, 2018
Thank you for the LOVE you gave our world, Mr. Rogers! Because of you, children have hope, encouragement & someone to watch who cares deeply for them. Our smallest grandchild, Victoria Grace, adores Daniel Tiger just like her mother, Natalie Jane, still adores you! May God glorify you daily in Heaven! Thank you to Mrs. Rogers & Family for sharing him with all of us! Thank YOU for creating Mr. Fred Rogers, dear Lord God!
Marla Edwards
March 23, 2018
KANDRA BAKER
March 21, 2018
Sue Mapes
March 20, 2018
Our hearts still ache over the loss of this dear, sweet man.
Harry & Lucille VanDusen
February 21, 2018
Mr .rogers
I miss you
Love spencer
Luff
Luff Spencer
February 20, 2018
I am so sorry for your loss me and my kids watch Mr Roger's loved watching him my prayers with you
Georgia Velasquez
February 19, 2018
miss you fred so much
sue curtis
December 2, 2017
Ian MACDONALD
May 24, 2017
Got a hat hat, a hat hat, got a hat hat, hat hat. I miss being a kid, namely because of you. My kids grew up watching you, and my youngest, definitely loves you. I pushed him more towards you, vs Daniel the tiger. . Idlewild isn't the same since they took mister Rogers neighborhood out. . I miss you Mister Rogers, and I LOVE you just the way you are
Samantha Galanis
May 23, 2017
Thank you Mr. Rogers for shaping who I am today. I am 20 years old now I always seek the bright side of people, places, and things. Your soothing voice helped me when I was small pay attention to the little things and my surroundings. I remember I would always get excited whenever you fed the fishes or when the trolley comes by. Even though the world is still in a dim place, your legacy will still shine on and touch the hearts of many. Thank you for a childhood I can never replace.
Chanel V.
March 25, 2017
Mr. Rogers was the best example of a pure role model to our four children. When he spoke at our oldest daughter's baccalaureate service at Moravian College in Bethlehem PA it was a highlight of our lives. We wish that he were still here for our nine grandchildren. Perhaps the Daniel Tiger show will fill that void. God Bless You, Fred.
Eugene Giancamilli
March 25, 2017
He calmed my children and gave them confidence on many a day. I loved him.
Leslie
March 24, 2017
I watch him when i was younger my prayers with the family
Georgia Velasquez
March 17, 2017
Charles Norton
February 17, 2017
Hi I watched mister rogers neighborhood when i was younger and we miss you mister rogers May you rest in peace and god bless you Fred Rogers:( You did the best show ever
-Christian Corenza
Christian Corenza
December 5, 2016
Miss You my friend
Bradley
October 28, 2016
Enjoyed meeting you when I attended St Vincent
James
October 28, 2016
Loved your Canadian show.
October 28, 2016
You and Arnie and David strickler and St Vincent's put Latrobe on the map.
Jim
October 28, 2016
I liked it when you appeared with Josie Carey.
Sara
October 28, 2016
I really enjoyed the episode with the boy in the wheel chair. You and Jeff did a great job.
Linda
October 27, 2016
Your cousin Libby thought the world of you. We always said a birthday prayer for you on March 20. Linda
Linda
September 22, 2016
Valenda Newell
September 12, 2016
I miss you, neighbor. It's hard to live in a world with you dead.
Jack
July 6, 2016
Mr. Rogers: We have adopted our grandchildren. You will become part of our lives once again. I've missed you.
Dione Carlock
April 4, 2016
I miss seeing you on the TV Mister Rogers, you were the friend I never had.
Joe Eccles
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