Pennsylvania native Fred Rogers made his name in public television, starting in 1954 at Pittsburgh's pioneering WQED. In 1962, he became an ordained minister and the following year, he created a 15-minute program for young children which in 1968 was syndicated nationwide on PBS as "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."
"Mister Rogers" became an institution in children's programming, encouraging youngsters to talk about their feelings, use their imaginations, and explore preschool morality both directly and through allegory in the "Land of Make Believe." Rogers wrote all of the original music, and his shoe- and cardigan sweaters-changing rituals became a trademark.
Rogers received nearly every major award in television in education, including the Lifetime Achievement Emmy, numerous honorary degrees, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, two years after he stopped filming new episodes. He also grew Mister Rogers' Neighborhood into Family Communications, Inc., a broader non-profit firm which produced educational materials reflecting his philosophy.
Rogers died in Pittsburgh on February 27, 2003 at the age of 74.