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Was Mr. Rogers Really A Navy SEAL? – Dale’s Daily Data

TV personality Fred Rogers (1928-2003) (Getty Images)

We were talking yesterday about the Navy SEALS – what they do and how they began and we mentioned two of the more famous ones…. from the first season of Survivor Rudy Boesch and wrestler and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura.  We also got a number of calls about Fred Rogers who for 30 years was the gentle, soft-talking host of that children’s TV show, “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” on PBS.   Most everybody thinks he too was a Navy Seal.  And the rumor has been that he always wore a sweater and long sleeve shirt to cover the tattoos he got in the military.  So we had to check into that one. 

Turns out Fred Rogers was not a Navy SEAL.  According to the myth-busting website he wasn’t even in the military.  There’s no period in his life where he could have been in the military.  He went from high school, directly to college then to a career in television.

While working he also attended graduate classes at the University of Pittsbugh’s School of Child Development.  He also found time to become an ordained Presbyterian minister.

As far as tattoos – he didn’t have any.  Not on his arms or anywhere on his body.  Even though he had a very friendly relationship with the kids he felt wearing long-sleeved shirts would make him seem more like a teacher or a parent and the kids would understand that.

Another element of the show he felt strongly about was not to include children on the show.  With no children on the set, Rogers said viewers would feel he was speaking directly to them rather than the kids on the show.    

For his work in children’s television Fred Rogers won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Peabody Award and was inducted in the Television Hall of Fame.  One of his trademark sweaters is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.  He died in 2003.


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