September 13, 2005
Speaker: Hedda Sharapan, Associate Producer of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”
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Hedda Bluestone Sharapan combines her background in child development with 33 years on Fred’s staff. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1965. Her interest in children’s television led her to WQED (Pittsburgh’s Public Broadcasting Station) and to Fred Rogers. At his suggestion, she pursued graduate studies in Child Development at the University of Pttsburgh School of Medicine and received her Master’s Degree in 1967.
In 1966 when Fred Rogers began producing “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Hedda Sharapan joined his staff and served as Assistant Director for the 1967 season, then as Assistant Producer from 1968 to 1970, and since 1970 has been an Associate Producer.
Her expertise also has been enhanced, she says, “because I’m a mother, both professions help me to express Fred Rogers’ philosophy, and I enjoy nothing more than seeing an audience become excited by his understanding of childhood and families.” Hedda can speak on many topics including helping children with angry feelings, communicating about death or divorce with young children, family communication, children with special needs, and what “You are special” is all about.
Note: Hedda also starred as “Mrs. Frogg” puppet character from 1968 – 1988.