James 'Jim' Byrd Rogers Once Ran Away from His Parents – Facts about Fred Rogers' Son
James ‘Jim’ Byrd Rogers Once Ran Away from His Parents – Facts about Fred Rogers’ Son
James Byrd Rogers is one of the late TV host Fred Rogers’ two sons. Like most children, James greatly appreciated how his father was kind to him when he sought independence at a young age.
Fred Rogers became famous for his iconic children’s program on the PBS Network. It was not only his delightful show that captured the audience’s attention but also his gentle personality.
Although he exuded kindness, Fred faced parenting challenges like anyone else. Nevertheless, he remained devoted to showing James “Jim” Byrd Rogers—one of his two sons with his wife Joanne Rogers—the same level of compassion that endeared him to countless fans.
Fred Rogers donates his famous red cardigan sweater to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution on November 20, 1984, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images
James, who also goes by the name “Jim,” was born into the family of the renowned TV host Fred Rogers, who passed away in 2003 due to stomach cancer.
Despite being an expert in entertaining children, as evident from his popular TV show, Fred could not escape the parenting challenges regarding James’s teenage years of rebellion.
Joanne Rogers poses for a photo with other family members during the U.S. Postal Service Dedication of the Mister Rogers Forever Stamp at WQED’s Fred Rogers Studio on March 23, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. | Source: Getty Images
James Byrd Rogers Exhibited Teenage Rebellion
The birth year of James remains uncertain, though it is estimated to be between 1959 and 1960, given that he was 18 years old in a 1978 People Magazine article.
James went to Rollins College in Florida, the same school his father had attended during his youth. Over the years, the name of Fred’s eldest son has been shown in various formats across different sources.
Fred’s IMDB profile mentioned his son’s name as Jim, whereas a 1983 article in The New York Times referred to him as James.
David Hartman and Joanne Rogers during Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Presents A Tribute To Fred Rogers at Academy of Television Arts & Sciences December 9, 2003, in North Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
He is the eldest son of Fred and Joanne Rogers. Apart from James, the former couple also had a younger son named John Rogers, who, like James, rose to fame due to their famous father.
In 2020, the Daily Mail reported that John was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, Mary.
Fred served as the host of the famous children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The show was first introduced in Pittsburgh in 1967, and the following year, PBS adopted the TV show, which gained popularity across the United States.
The renowned host’s warm personality garnered the most attention. His gentleness, fondness for cardigan sweaters, and soothing voice won him a large following and inspired numerous parodies.
Joanne Rogers and former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris pose for a photo with other family members during the U.S. Postal Service Dedication of the Mister Rogers Forever Stamp at WQED’s Fred Rogers Studio on March 23, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. | Source: Getty Images
He was also a successful author who co-wrote a book called “Mister Rogers Talks with Parents” with Barry Head. The book covered various aspects of childrearing, including effective methods of discipline.
Despite Fred’s successful book on parenting, he experienced difficulties disciplining his son. When James was a college freshman, he suddenly cut off communication with his parents.
At that time, the couple remarked that James had not responded to their calls or messages. They were upset about the situation and described it as a “difficult year” with feelings of hostility.
A portrait of Fred Rogers in 1980s. | Source: Getty Images
Even though his son stopped talking to them, Fred’s house kept a welcoming atmosphere. The doting dad seemed to understand his son’s need for independence, even if it appeared as a form of mild rebellion. Fred said:
“But if we don’t allow him to go off and have this time for himself, he’ll never come back to the nest.”
Fred Rogers endorses the PBS TV show for children called, “Between the Lions” on April 3, 2002, in the East Room of the White House. | Source: Getty Images
James Created His Own Family
James made an appearance on his father’s famous TV show twice. The first instance was in 1971 when he demonstrated how to make a paper hat from a newspaper.
The second occasion was during the “Fathers and Music” episode in 1990 when James brought his son Alexander along. Fred taught his grandson how to play with a trolley.
The family-oriented TV show mirrored James’ life as he started his own family. According to a report in 2002, James lived in Allison Park and had two grandchildren named Alex and Douglas.
James Lived near His Mother
After his father’s passing, James retreated from public life, and little is known about his current circumstances. Nonetheless, he appeared in the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” in 2018.
In an interview with the LA Times that same year, James referred to the old People Magazine article about his teenage rebellion, admitting that he was unenthusiastic about how it was written.
James clarified that his dad always allowed him room to grow. Fred was also a man who never ran out of compliments or admiration.
On one occasion, Fred even admired him for growing his beard, and James remembered him saying that he wished he could grow a beard, too, so that people wouldn’t recognize him.
The article also stated that James lived near his mother’s house in Pittsburgh. As James appeared in his father’s documentary, his brother John did not. However, John appeared in the news in a negative light.
In 2020, the Daily Mail reported that John was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife, Mary. Additionally, in 2018, he experienced issues with his teenage son that involved drug abuse.
In 2021, James and John experienced another tragic event when their mother, Joanne, an accomplished concert pianist and chairperson of Fred Rogers Productions, passed away at 92.
Joanne Rogers speaks onstage at the “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” panel during day 2 of the PBS portion of the 2012 Summer TCA Tour held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 22, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
Before her death, she gave director Marielle Heller access to her husband’s archives and granted them the rights to make the film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Actress Rita Wilson’s husband, Tom Hanks, played Fred’s role in the 2019 film, which followed his life as a TV host. According to Joanne, Tom was Fred’s favorite actor. Joanne also appeared in the movie in a minor role.
Subscribe to AmoMama on Google News!