Mister Rogers dies of cancer at 74

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Fred McFeely Rogers, 74, longtime host of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood on
PBS, died of stomach cancer Wednesday at his home in Pittsburgh.

Rogers began his TV career after having seen enough "pies in the face" TV to
decide that the medium was being underutilized.

He became a floor director for such shows as NBC Opera Theater and
The Kate Smith Hour for NBC in New York in the early 1950s.

He moved to WQED(TV) Pittsburgh in 1953 to help put the show on the air as
program director.

His interest in puppeteering and music made him a natural for Children's
Corner
, which he worked on with host Josie Carey for eight years -- it also
appeared briefly on NBC -- before moving to Canadian Broadcasting Corp. when
he was offered a 15-minute network show.

That show, Misterogers, would become Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
when he moved back to WQED in 1964 to produce the show for the Eastern
Educational Network.

The show went national in 1968.

Rogers' Family Communications company said Thursday that there are about 900
library episodes that will continue to be made available for airing.

The show is the longest running on public TV.

Among Rogers' many awards were two Peobodys, four Emmys and the Presidential
Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor.

Rogers is survived by his wife, Joanne, two sons and two
grandsons.

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