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Fred Rogers

Updated on June 3, 2015

Fred McFeely Rogers - of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Producer, magician, writer, puppeteer, minister, husband, father, Fred Rogers was the host and creator of the popular and critically acclaimed "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood". The program is the longest running children's television program on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

For more than forty-five years, Fred Rogers entertained, enlightened, and informed preschool children with his warm and sincere messages of love and acceptance, which serve to validate and reinforce feelings of self-worth among children of all ages. He accomplished this through his masterful use of television, books, records, and videotapes. Generations of young people have come of age knowing that they are special and loved by the soft-spoken, kindly man who wears sneakers and a cardigan sweater. His Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) program is viewed by more than eight million people in the United States alone. Rogers's endearing appeal is due to the fact that he never talked down to or belittled his audience, rather he related to them and their lives on their level. This realistic and honest approach won him legions of fans and numerous awards, including Peabodys, Emmys, and honorary doctorates.

Via: Gale Encyclopedia of Biography: Fred McFeely Rogers

Fred Rogers on King Friday the 13th

About Fred Rogers

Lifetime of Achievement

In 1968, Rogers was appointed Chairman of the Forum on Mass Media and Child Development of the White House Conference on Youth. Besides two George Foster Peabody Awards, Emmys, "Lifetime Achievement" Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the TV Critics Association, Fred Rogers received every major award in television for which he is eligible and many others from special-interest groups in education, communications, and early childhood. In 1999, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. His life and work have been the subject of feature articles in national publications, including LIFE, Reader's Digest, Parents, Esquire, Parade, and TV Guide. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, recognizing his contribution to the well-being of children and a career in public television that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion and learning. On January 1, 2003, in his last public appearance, Fred Rogers served as a Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade, and tossed the coin for the Rose Bowl Game.

Beyond the Broadcast

Fred Rogers was the composer and lyricist of over 200 songs, the author of numerous books for children, including the First Experience series and the Let's Talk About It series, and the author of many books for adults, including the Mister Rogers Playtime Book, You Are Special, The Giving Box, Mister Rogers Talks with Parents, and Dear Mister Rogers: Does It Ever Rain In Your Neighborhood?. His last book, The Mister Rogers Parenting Book, was praised by Publishers Weekly for the "qualities of warmth and attentiveness that translate very well into this brief yet thorough parenting guide."

Fred Rogers received more than 40 honorary degrees from colleges and universities, including Yale University, Hobart and William Smith, Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, Saint Vincent College, University of Pittsburgh, North Carolina State University, University of Connecticut, Dartmouth College, Waynesburg College, and his alma mater, Rollins College.

The Fred Rogers Company

Fred was chairman of Family Communications, Inc. the nonprofit company that he formed in 1971 to produce MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD and that has since diversified into non-broadcast materials that reflect the same philosophy and purpose: to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families. MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD is the longest- running program on public television. Today Family Communications, Inc. is called The Fred Rogers Company in honor of its founder.

Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003 at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife Joanne Rogers, their two sons and three grandsons.

Read more at The Fred Rogers Company | Biography.

Fred Rogers Interview

Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was interviewed for four-and-a-half hours in Pittsburgh, PA. Rogers described his work as the creator and host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which began its run in 1968. He described the show's evolution, which started with Mister Rogerswhich he produced in Canada for the CBC. He described each aspect of the show including the origin of his trademark sweaters. He described his early years in television working as a floor manager for NBC on such shows as NBC Opera Theatre, The Kate Smith Hour, and The Gabby Hayes Show. He detailed his move into public television in 1953 with his work as the program director for WQED, Pittsburgh. He described his first children's program The Children's Corner(1954-61 WQED; 1955-56 NBC), which introduced several puppets later used on Mister Rogers. He talked about the importance of children's programming and his longevity as a childrens' show host. The interview was conducted by Karen Herman on July 22, 1999.

To see the interview in it's entirety, visit Fred Rogers Interview | Archive of American Television.


Fred Rogers Addresses the U.S. Senate - in support of public television - May 1, 1969

In 1969, Fred Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. His goal was to support funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to significant proposed cuts by President Nixon.


Mr Rogers Must See Videos

Fred Rogers Links

  • Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media

    The work of the Fred Rogers Center resonates with Fred's own belief in the positive potential of television and new media for supporting the healthy social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of young children. Staying true to the vision of its namesake, and emulating the guiding principles of his life's work, the mission of the Fred Rogers Center is to advance the fields of early learning and children's media by acting as a catalyst for communication, collaboration, and creative change.

  • The Fred Rogers Company

    Family Communications was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, the company not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred's values and approach to other efforts in promoting children's social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children.

    Now, we honor Fred by carrying on his work under our new name - The Fred Rogers Company. We're proud to be building on Fred's legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom.

  • The Neighborhood Archive

    A collection of all things Mister Rogers

  • Fred Rogers: Biography from Answers.com

Fred Rogers Urban Legends

Among the more common of the Mr. Rogers-related urban legends are the following claims:

Fred Rogers began his television career as a result of his being convicted of child molestation; one condition of his sentence was that he fulfill a community service obligation by performing a television show for children on a local public station. This circumstance explains the lack of children on his program and the presence of adult characters with suggestive names, such as Mr. McFeely.

Given the protests and boycotts directed at Disney when it was revealed that Victor Salva, the writer-director of their 1995 film Powder (released through Disney's Hollywood Pictures subsidiary), had served time for child molestation, it stretches credulity to the breaking point to believe that the host of a children's program on public television could have remained in that position for thirty-three years without having been hounded off the air amidst howls of condemnation from thousands of outraged parents.

Fred Rogers got his start in television through his musical background when, after earning a bachelor's degree in music composition in 1951, he was hired by NBC television in New York to serve as an assistant producer (and later as a floor director) for several of the music-variety type programs (The Voice of Firestone, The Lucky Strike Hit Parade, The Kate Smith Hour) prevalent on TV in the early 1950s.

A few years later, he returned to his hometown area to develop programming for WQED in Pittsburgh, the nation's first community-sponsored educational television station. One of the first programs he developed for WQED was The Children's Corner, which contained many of the elements and characters Fred Rogers would incorporate into his own show when he made his on-camera debut as host of Misterogers for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1963.

Aside from the difficulties of working with very young children on scripted television shows, the lack of children on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was due simply to stylistic choice. Although some children's shows of the era featured youngsters who interacted with hosts on-camera, other shows (such as Sheriff John, my local favorite) opted to create the illusion of a one-to-one relationship between host and viewer by excluding children from the studio. The latter method allowed a host to establish a rapport with the youngsters in his viewing audience by appearing to be speaking to them directly, not to the other children on the screen with him.

As for Mr. McFeely, the grandfatherly character who runs the "Speedy Delivery Messenger Service" in Mister Rogers' neighborhood, his name is easily explained: 'McFeely' is also Fred Rogers' real middle name, taken from his grandfather, Fred Brooks McFeely.

Fred Rogers served as a sniper or as a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War, with a large number of confirmed kills to his credit.

This same rumor has often been applied to boyish country singer-songwriter John Denver (among others), and it's just as false when told of Fred Rogers. Not only did Fred Rogers never serve in the military, there are no gaps in his career when he could conceivably have served in the military — he went straight into college after high school, he moved directly into TV work after graduating college, and his breaks from television work were devoted to attending the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963) and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. Moreover, Fred Rogers was born in 1928 and was therefore too old to have enlisted in the armed services by the time of America's military involvement in Vietnam.

Fred Rogers always wore long-sleeved shirts and sweaters on his show to conceal the tattoos on his arms he obtained while serving in the military.

As noted above, Fred Rogers never served in the military, and he bore no tattoos on his arms (or any other part of his body). He wore long-sleeved shirts and sweaters on his show to maintain an air of formality — although he was friendly with the children in his viewing audience and talked to them on their own level, he was most definitely an authority figure on a par with parents and teachers (he was Mister Rogers to them, after all, not Fred), and his choice of dress was intended to establish and foster that relationship.

Read more at snopes.com: Mister Rogers.

Mr Rogers Goodbye

What do you love most about Fred Rogers?

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    • emmajowebster profile image

      emmajowebster 4 years ago

      I loved Mr Rogers when I lived in the u.s. for a while when I was about 8 !

    • Jack Ori profile image

      Jack Ori 4 years ago

      Fred Rogers is one of my heroes. <3 I have no doubt that his influence on me has helped me grow up to be somebody who approaches others with compassion and love and desires to make the world a better place.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I loved watching Mr Rogers Neighborhood - it was all so wonderful. Thanks for the memories :)

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      You can tell a lot about a person's character by the way they say thank you. His acceptance speech was classic.

    • profile image

      janettemj 5 years ago

      brings back memories! I loved Mr.Rogers. Very nice lens :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Watched him in elementary school as class time along with Sesame Street, sure brings back memories. *blessed by a squid angel*

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      I love how he talks and the things he talks about. He doesn't talk 'down' to children but he talks in a way that children can relate to. He's simply wonderful!

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 5 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      I loved watching his show as a child and again with my own children. He just seemed so sweet.