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Fred Rogers completely changed the face of children’s television when he created the wholesome Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He initially had no intention of having a career on TV, but was motivated by the lack of positive programming for children out there. His goal was to produce something to promote good self esteem, self control, imagination, creativity, curiosity, appreciation of diversity, cooperation, patience, and persistence. After many years of inspirational success, Mr. Rogers passed away in 2003 after a sudden onset of untreatable stomach cancer, but his legacy truly continues to live on. Here are some things you never knew about him and the show that made him an icon. Who knew he liked to skinny dip?

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1. His mom made his cardigans

The trademark cardigans that he wore on the show were knitted by his mother. Two of those sweaters were donated to the Smithsonian in 1984, which they call a Treasure of American History. “She knitted a sweater a month for as many years as I knew her. And every Christmas she would give this extended family of ours a sweater. She would say, ‘What kind do you all want next year? I know what kind you want, Freddy. You want the one with the zipper up the front.’”

mr rogers
post-gazette.com

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