'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' castmate says beloved TV host was the real deal

It really was a beautiful day in the neighborhood for those who’ve worked with Fred Rogers, lovingly known as “Mister Rogers” by generations of children across the country.

The television host, who captivated young viewers with songs, stories and heartfelt-advice, died in 2003 at age 74 from stomach cancer. He starred in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from 1968 until 2001.

His former cast mate still has fond memories of the beloved, soft-spoken star.

“One day, he was changing out of his loafers into sneakers, and he wore a size 10, but the crew gave him a size 8,” David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the series, told Closer Weekly. “He was trying to get his foot into the sneakers, and the crew started laughing, then Fred Rogers just broke up laughing.”

Newell noted that as much as Rogers enjoyed working on the series, he also found joy in the privacy of home. The Protestant minister was recognized as a devoted family man who was married to his college sweetheart Joanne Rogers for 50 years until his death. The couple shared two sons.

“They were perfect together,” added Newell. “They were both musicians, and they had twin pianos in their living room, which they would play together.”