Joanne Rogers Biography — Wiki
Joanne Rogers was best known as the wife of famous TV host Mister Rogers, who has reportedly died at the age of 92, it was announced on Thursday. Joanne, a classical pianist, had been married to Fred Rogers for 50 years before the star of PBS’ Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood died aged 74 in 2003.
Her death was confirmed by the Fred Rogers Productions and the McFeely-Rogers Foundation.
They tweeted: ‘Fred Rogers Productions is deeply saddened by the passing of Joanne Rogers. The loving partner of Fred Rogers for more than 50 years, she continued their shared commitment to supporting children and families after his death as chair of the board of Fred Rogers Productions.
Joanne Rogers Age
Joanne Rogers was 91 years old at the time of death.
Obituary: Joanne Rogers Death and Cause of Death
‘Joanne was a brilliant and accomplished musician, a wonderful advocate for the arts, and a dear friend to everyone in our organization. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Joanne’s family and the thousands of people who had the privilege of knowing and loving her.’
It is understood she had been hospitalized for several days. Her cause of death is unknown.
What Joanne Rogers said about the presidential campaign
One of the last times she was seen in public was in September, when she was FaceTimed by Joe Biden – like her husband, from Pennsylvania – on the campaign trail. Biden later tweeted: ‘A few weeks ago, I spoke to Mr. Rogers’ wife Joanne when I was in her neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It was a great conversation.
‘Friendship, empathy, kindness, and compassion — I think we could all learn a thing or two from her and her husband’s example.’
When Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Fred Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, Joanne was unimpressed.
‘I think he’s just a horrible person,’ she told The Daily Beast at the time.
She said her husband steered clear of politics, for fear it would complicate the lives of children at home.
She said she would go into ‘mourning’ if Trump was re-elected, adding: ‘I am a very big Biden fan.
In November 2019, following the release of the Tom Hanks film, Joanne explained why she felt her late husband had had such an impact. Joanne was also given the George Romero Legacy Award at Steeltown Entertainment’s Elly Awards in 2019.
How well do you know Joanne Rogers?
Joanne Rogers Early Life, Education, Career
Joanne was born as Sara Joanne Byrd in Jacksonville, Florida in 1928. She learned to play the piano at the age of five when a friend introduced her to a piano instructor, and the meeting sparked a lifelong passion.
She earned a scholarship to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where she met Fred – a Dartmouth College graduate. The pair bonded over a love of music.
‘Fred was a really really fine musician,’ she said.
‘It was part of him. It was maybe the most important part of him, was his music.’
She added: ‘Music meant a lot to both of us, we had that in common and we talked often of, ‘How do people live without music?”
Joanne Rogers Husband, Kids
Despite her husband’s fame, Joanne managed to chart her own highly successful course. The couple married in 1952 and had two sons – James Byrd Rogers and John Rogers – and three grandchildren.
While he was filming Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001, she was traveling the country as a concert pianist with her friend Jeannine Morrison, who she had met at Rollins College.
In the early 1970s, Joanne performed as a duo with Morrison, telling The New York Times: ‘Over the next 36 years we played over 300 concerts.’
The close friends ended up recording their duets, releasing two albums: ‘Duo – Piano Favorites’ and ‘A Virtuoso Duo-Piano Showcase.’ Joanne eventually quit performing in part due to her arthritis, her son John told the publication.
She would often enjoy performances by her friends Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma.
Her older son, Jim, told the newspaper: ‘She was always able to be Joanne Rogers as opposed to Mrs. Fred Rogers.