Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Latrobe, Westmoreland County
Children's author Fred Rogers, best known for his award-winning television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, was born in Latrobe in 1928.
Awards: Emmy Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Hollywood Walk of Fame
Children's book author and creator of his namesake TV show, Mister Rogers was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development, and created children's programs for broadcast stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Read more here.
The Fred Rogers Company. "About Fred Rogers." Mister Rogers' Neighborhood website. 2018. 7 November 2018.
Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to James Hillis Rogers, a brick manufacturer, and Nancy McFeely Rogers. Rogers attended Dartmouth College in 1946 but ended up graduating magna cum laude from Rollins College of Florida in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in music composition.
He began his career with producing and directing at stations such as the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in New York and WQED in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1952 he married Joanne Byrd, a fellow Rollins graduate, and they had two children. Rogers was asked back to WQED and he produced his first children's show, Children's Corner, which aired from 1954 to 1961. For this show, Rogers was the producer, writer, composer, and he even did the puppeteering. While working, he attended the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. In 1962, he graduated magna cum laude from the seminary and was ordained a minister in 1963.
Rogers worked on several other shows before his hit show, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which aired in Canada in 1962, and ran until 2001, becoming PBS's longest running program. Through his soft voice, use of puppets, and a simple set-up to his program, Rogers helped children confront fears and learn to deal with them in a constructive manner on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and has since become a cultural icon.
He won many awards, not only for his educational television shows, but also for his motivation and enthusiasm for child development. In 1997, he won the Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. He won the National Educational Television Award for excellence in children's programming as well. Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999 and has also received over 35 honorary degrees from colleges and universities such as Yale University in 1974 and Carnegie-Mellon University in 1976. He was also commemorated on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a star at 6600 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2002, Fred Rogers was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The award citation reads: Fred Rogers has entertained and educated children for more than 30 years through his extraordinary public television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. His program helps children understand caring, safety, and respect for others, and his legendary commitment to young people has been an enriching part of American life. The United States honors Fred Rogers for his dedication to the well-being of children, his faith, his family, and his community, and for a career that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion, and learning.
After being diagnosed with stomach cancer, Rogers died on February 27, 2003 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mister Rogers' Songbook. New York: Random House, 1970.
Mister Rogers Talks About the New Baby, Moving, Fighting, Going to the Doctor, Going to School, Haircuts. New York: Platt & Monk, 1974.
Mister Rogers' How Families Grow. New York: Berkley Books, 1988.
Extraordinary Friends. New York: Putnam Company, 2000.
You are Special. New York: Colombia, 1969,
A Place of Our Own. New York: Colombia, 1970.
Fred McFeely Rogers. The Gale Literary Database: Contemporary Authors. The Gale Group. Thomson Corporation. 2003. 7 Dec. 2011.