Fred Rogers' Biography
Fred McFeely Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, 40 miles east of The Voice of Firestone and later as floor director for The Lucky Strike Hit Parade, The Kate Smith Hour, and the NBC Opera Theatre. Rogers was married in 1952 to Joanne Byrd, a concert pianist and fellow Rollins graduate.
In November, 1953, at the request of WQED Pittsburgh, the nation's first community-sponsored educational television station, Rogers moved back to Pennsylvania. The station was not yet on the air, and Rogers was asked to develop the first program
During off-duty hours, Rogers attended both the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School
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 most recent 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.
Rogers 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. Almost 900 episodes of MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD comprise an evergreen library which is offered each year to PBS stations. MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD is the longest- running program on public television.
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 two grandsons.
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1928 - Fred McFeely Rogers is born.
1951 - Graduates from Rollins College and is hired by NBC.
1952 - Marries Joanne Byrd.
1953 - Develops The Children's Corner.
1963 - Is ordained as a Presbyterian minister.
1968 - MisteRogers debuts on PBS.
1971 - Forms Family Communications, Inc.