Fred Rogers' belief in kindness led him to seminary, where he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. Instead of moving toward a traditional religious calling, his charge was "to continue his work with children and families through the mass media."
In 1963, he was offered the opportunity to start a show in Canada called "Misterogers." Three years later, he went back to Pittsburgh and created a new show called "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," which went national 50 years ago, on what would become PBS.
Fred Rogers died on Feb. 27, 2003, in Pittsburgh and was survived by his wife, Joanne, and their two sons and three grandsons.
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Rogers’ message of love and kindness still resonates today. When there is a national tragedy, memes or video clips of Fred Rogers telling children and adults alike to “look for the helpers” gives those who need it a moment of reassurance that everything will be OK.
“Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” also helped launch the careers of some current stars.
Actress Ming-Na Wen, known for her role as Agent Melinda May on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and as the voice of Disney’s Mulan, appeared on the show.
Bill Nye the Science Guy appeared on an episode in 1997 to help everyone's neighbor perform an experiment, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Rogers also introduced kids to various genres of music, thanks to guest stars who dropped by, including Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma and Tony Bennett, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Michael Keaton, who went by his original name at the time, Michael Douglas, had one of his first jobs working as a stagehand on the show. He helped operate the iconic trolley, CBS News reported. He was also one of the "Flying Zookeeni Brothers," Parade reported.
Keaton will host a one-night-only PBS special that pays tribute to Rogers on March 6. “Mister Rogers, It’s You I Like” will feature Keaton and cast regulars, including Joe Negri, who portrayed Handyman Negri, and David Newell, who portrayed Mr. McFeely.
Rogers will also be remembered by guests Judd Apatow, Whoopi Goldberg and Sarah Silverman, according to PBS.
But that's not the only remembrance planned for Mr. Rogers. Starting on Feb. 26, PBS Kids will run a weeklong tribute to Rogers, PBS announced.
A forever stamp will also honor Rogers this year and is scheduled to be released on March 23, WPXI reported. And a biopic has been announced in which Tom Hanks has been slated to star as Rogers.