(CBS Local)– Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was a television mainstay for over 30 years.
Fred Rogers was a Pittsburgh institution up until the day he died and a new book from his friend Dr. François S. Clemmons called “Officer Clemmons” provides an intimate look at Rogers on the set of his TV show and away from the limelight.
Fans of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will remember Clemmons as the man who played Rogers’ friend and policeman named Officer Clemmons for years. The actor and musician is excited for fans of the show to learn about his story and the man he admired for so many years in Rogers.
“I really felt that I was led to be with him [Rogers] and I felt he was looking for someone like me,” said Clemmons in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “He was a wonderful listener and I came to Pittsburgh several times just to be with him. There was no limit to what we would discuss. I found him to be the most thoughtful person I’ve ever known.”
While “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” resonated with audiences for a number of different reasons, Clemmons believes the warmth of Rogers is the biggest reason the show was on the air for so many years.
“Unconditional love emanates from his [Rogers’] core,” said Clemmons. “Fred’s first premise was always to handle things with love. You have to have unconditional love, forgiveness and empathy. That’s what I learned watching him and listening to him. He was my teacher and my guru. He was very warm and there was a look in his eyes that was so lovely.”
Rogers used to always drop by and watch Clemmons perform as a musician every time he was in the Pittsburgh area. Clemmons’ book is available now wherever books are sold and watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.