February 27, 2003


Fred Rogers, host of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,' Dies at 74 (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, February 27, 2003)
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.

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.

His message remained a simple one throughout the years, 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.

The show gained a wide audience among children and parents who appreciated its simple lessons and Rogers' soothing manner.

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

Terry Gross did a nice interview with Mr. Rogers last year. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2003 10:27 AM

I don't think I've ever seen a man who seemed more at peace with himself.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 27, 2003 10:47 AM

This has had me crying this morning. What a sweet man. I've known people who worked with him and they said he was nothing but a kind, decent, humble person who treated everyone with respect.

Posted by: NKR at February 27, 2003 12:12 PM

Anyone who has kids will be fanmiliar with the episode of Arthur where none of the older kids will admit to still loving him. It stars Mr. Rogers himself, though as an aardvark.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2003 1:12 PM

Frankly I found the Eddie Murphy version a lot more entertaining.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at February 27, 2003 1:15 PM