1. Archive

Our other TV friends

Published Aug. 27, 2005

Here's a look at what has become of some of the other hosts and actors from children's television shows. If you know them all, you're guaranteed to feel old after reading this.

Mr. Rogers

For more than three decades, Fred McFeely Rogers was everybody's neighbor in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the PBS show he created, produced and hosted. He died on Feb. 27, 2003, after suffering stomach cancer.

Mr. Green Jeans

For 30 years Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum was the friendly farmer, handyman and unsuccessful inventor on Captain Kangaroo. He died in 1987 at age 77 of cancer.

Shari Lewis

The ventriloquist, puppeteer, singer and dancer who for four decades graced the TV screen and nightclub stage accompanied by her lovable sock puppet Lamb Chop died Aug. 2, 1998. She was 65 and had cancer.

Buffalo Bob

Robert E. Smith, host of the Howdy Doody Show, died of cancer on July 31, 1998, at age 80. More trivia: Bob Keeshan's first TV appearance came in 1948, when he played the voiceless, horn-honking Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody Show.

Jim Henson

His face wasn't the one on screen, but he was the creator of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets who both entertained and educated millions of preschoolers and their parents around the world. He died on May 16, 1990, of pneumonia. He was 53.

Mr. Hooper

Will Lee had played this friendly store owner since Sesame Street's first episode in 1969. After his death on Dec. 7, 1982, the show did a special episode to teach children about death.


Matt Robinson was the first actor to play kindly neighbor Gordon on Sesame Street. He died at age 65 on Aug. 5, 2002, after a 20-year struggle with Parkinson's disease.


There have been hundreds of Bozos around the country since the original appeared in 1949 on KTTV-Ch. 11 in Los Angeles. Pinto Colvig brought the character to life. He died of lung cancer in 1967. Other famous Bozos include Willard Scott, the Today show weatherman, in Washington; Frank Avruch in Boston, whose show was syndicated in markets with no local Bozo; and Bob Bell at Chicago's WGN-TV. Bell died in 1997.

Romper Room hosts

Romper Room had more than 150 different hosts in different TV markets. So looking through her Magic Mirror on your screen might have been Miss Nancy, Miss Ann, Miss Sally or someone else. The show was broadcast from 1954 until well into the 1980s.

_ Compiled by Ron Brackett with information from Times files, ABC News,, and