Radio Show

Joanne Rogers on the Legacy of Mr. Rogers


Father Dave sits down with Joanne Rogers, the widow of Fred Rogers, to discuss the upcoming biopic  “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and the life and legacy of her late husband.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” profiles the blossoming friendship between Mr. Rogers and a journalist hired to write about him.. Joanne explains that,  while the personality of the journalist interviewing her husband is largely fictionalized in the movie, Fred still saw potential to help Tom Junod (who is renamed Lloyd Vogel in the biopic). “I think he saw that Tom was having some struggles… and wanted to help him,” Joanne explains.

Father Dave mentions that Mr. Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister. “His ministry was the program,” Joanne responds. “It was absolutely his work that he was ordained to do.” She later adds that her husband “walked the walk” and delicately infused Christian teachings into his work for public television.

Joanne also talks about their two sons and how their family engaged in their faith. Father Dave asks, “Were there difficult times over the 30 years… to be the wife of Mr. Rogers?” Joanne confidently answered “no,” explaining how her husband’s fame never affected his support for his family.

Father Dave asks how we can find “another Mr. Rogers” in today’s world and in our faith communities. Joanne replies that hopefully the premiere of the biopic  will continue to emphasize Mr. Rogers’ message of kindness and inspire others to follow in his footsteps. 

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” opens in theaters Friday, November 22nd in the US. (Originally Aired on 11-19-19)