Joanne Rogers, "the loving partner" to the late TV icon Fred Rogers, has died at age 92, according to a statement released Thursday by Fred Rogers Productions. The couple had been married for more than 50 years before Fred, known widely as Mister Rogers, died in 2003 of stomach cancer at age 74.
The production company praised Joanne's contribution to supporting children, families and the arts.
"Joanne was a brilliant and accomplished musician, a wonderful advocate for the arts, and a dear friend to everyone in our organization," the statement said. "We extend our heartfelt condolences to Joanne's family and the thousands of people who had the privilege of knowing and loving her."
The City of Pittsburgh called Joanne one of its "favorite neighbors" on Twitter, and the city's mayor told CBS Pittsburgh that with her "grace, humor and down-to earth demeanor," she "personified what we love about the City of Pittsburgh." She was also a recipient of the 2019 George Romero Legacy Award at Steeltown Entertainment's 2019 Elly Awards, according to the station, and was recognized for helping filmmakers learn about their industry.
Joanne was a classically trained pianist and was known for her "wonderful sense of humor with a recognizable bountiful laugh," according to a biography provided by Fred Rogers Productions. She had also taken part in one of Fred Rogers' first shows, "The Children's Corner," on PBS.
She had also spoken out in support of the 2019 film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" and of Tom Hanks, who played her husband, CBS Pittsburgh said.
"I loved it. I think Tom is a genius, almost. I want to give credit — Tom Hanks has gotten lots and lots of good press and he deserves every bit of it," she said at the time.
First published on January 14, 2021 / 6:27 PM