Full name, Fred McFeely Rogers; born March 20, 1928, in Latrobe, PA; died ofstomach cancer, February 27, 2003, in Pittsburgh, PA. Television host and producer. Known to generations as the kindhearted and soft-spoken Mister Rogers,Rogers was the host and producer of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, thelongest-running children's series to air on public television. Rogers first entered the television industry in 1951 when he began working at the NBC studios in New York. He served as assistant producer for The Voice of Firestone and was floor director for several shows, including NBC Opera Theatre and The Kate Smith Hour. Rogers returned to Pennsylvania in 1953and worked as a puppeteer, producer, and writer on The Children's Corner, a live show on WQED, the nation's first community-supported public television station. In the early 1960s Rogers found work with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation in Toronto. There he developed a fifteen-minute show called Misterogers. The show was moved in 1966 to Pittsburgh, was lengthened tothirty minutes, and began broadcasting nationally in 1968. The program, whichfocused on the education and emotional development of children, starred thecardigan sweater-wearing Mister Rogers and a number of characters in the neighborhood. In addition to host, Rogers served as writer, composer, and producer on the long-running show, which aired its final episode in August 2001. Inaddition to his work on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Rogers produced anumber of children's television specials and was chairman of the nonprofit organization Family Communications Inc., which he established in 1971 to publish educational books and videos. Rogers was a contributor to several publications and wrote numerous books, the most recent being The Mister Rogers' Parenting Book, published in 2002. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood won four Emmy Awards, and Rogers received a George Peabody Award, a lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and dozens of honorary degrees. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999, and one of his sweaters hangs in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister.
February 2004: "In Memoriam: A Requiem for Mr. Rogers," a performanceby the Slippery Rock University orchestra and choir, will premiere at the St.Justin Church in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, on February 29. Source:Associated Press, http://customwire.ap.org, January 20, 2004.March 27, 2004: "The Music of Fred Rogers," a concert featuring Rogers's compositions, was staged by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Source: New York Times, www.nytimes.com, March 27, 2004.September 29, 2004: Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor, a3-hour documentary that was nominated for two Emmy Awards, was released on DVD. Source: Associated Press, http://customwire.ap.org, September 29,2004.September 1, 2005: The first Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship, a $10,000 award funded by Ernst & Young, was given to a UCLA student to study children's media. Source: Yahoo News, http://news.yahoo.com, September 1, 2005.