FOF #2726 – Being Mr. Rogers’ Gay Black Neighbor

Apr 3, 2019 · 3212 views

A perfect friendship: Francois Clemmons and Fred Rogers’ friendship helped change the course of children’s television. (From left to right: Daniel Tiger, Francois Clemmons, Fred Rogers, Lady Elaine Fairchilde. Photos courtesy of Fred Rogers Center and Francois Scarborough Clemmons.

One of the unexpected surprises from “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” the documentary film on Mr. Rogers, was just how fierce and unapologetically gay in real life is Francois Clemmons, the actor who played Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Francois joined the pioneering children’s TV show as a young man and spent decades playing Officer Clemmons. As one of the first African Americans to have a recurring role on children’s television, Francois was in a unique position to help Fred Rogers open his eyes to the struggles of disenfranchised people. In turn, Francois learned to take in the love that Fred had to give.

Today we’re delighted to talk to Officer Clemmons, Francois Diva Man Scarborough Clemmons from his home in Vermont about coming out as gay to Mr. Rogers, his love of turquoise jewelry and is there any truth to the recently revealed rumor that Mr. Rogers was bisexual?

A trinity of goodness: Fred Rogers, Francois Clemmons and Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo.) Photo courtesy of Francois Scarborough Clemmons.

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  1. John Doe says:

    That was a wonderful episode!

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