On March 20, 1928, Fred McFeely Rogers was born just outside of Pittsburg. Beloved by generations of Americans, he was the wholesome voice that decades of parents entrusted to teach their children. Do you know everything there is to know about him, though? Follow your curiosity through this list like Daniel Tiger, and you’ll be surprised by what you find out!
He was a technically skilled musician
After completing his freshman year at Dartmouth College, Mister Rogers transferred to Rollins College. He graduated in 1951 magna cum laude with a degree in music composition and wrote all of the songs on the show, including Won’t You Be My Neighbor”
He never threw away his fan mail
As a child, Fred Rogers was a victim of bullying. He was taunted for his weight, and called “Fat Freddy”. Perhaps it was this that led him to host a children’s show centering around kindness. According to a former assistant on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” he got up at 5 AM every morning to respond to letters. He believed it disrespectful to throw them away or ignore them.
He was a mama’s boy
Every sweater Fred Rogers wore on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was made by his mother, Nancy. She also knitted sweaters for American soldiers from western Pennsylvania who were fighting in Europe. One of his sweaters is with the Smithsonian.
He was the president of his high school’s student council
While growing up in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, Fred Rogers spent much of his early childhood struggling with asthma and self-esteem issues. Always one to look on the bright side, he used his musical abilities to gain popularity.
Fred was an only child until the age of 11, when his parents adopted a baby girl.
Fred’s parents adopted a six month only baby girl, whose name was Elaine. She was the inspiration for one of Mister Rogers beloved puppets, Lady Elaine.
He was disciplined
Mr Rogers weighed exactly 143 pounds for the last 30 years of his life. Fred did not drink, smoke, and was a vegetarian
He was married for 50 years
After developing a long friendship, Fred Rogers, 24 at the time, proposed to his wife in a letter. At the time, the fellow pianist was attending college in Florida, and they had been corresponding through the mail.