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Myth Watch

July 15, 2007|David Colker

The myth: Genial kids' show host Fred Rogers was a Navy Seal during the Vietnam War, with more than 25 confirmed kills. He wore his trademark long-sleeved sweaters to hide his arm tattoos.

The reality: It would be hard to find a celebrity who has not been the subject of myths on the Internet. But for whatever reason, some of the most enduring -- and inaccurate -- tales have been about Rogers, who died in 2003. Since the mid-1990s, there have been online postings claiming that the host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was a Navy Seal, Marine or Army sharpshooter in Vietnam. In addition, there have been postings hinting that the soft-spoken Rogers had a dark, criminal past. None of that is true, according to several anti-myth sites, including Snopes.com, that looked into his personal history. First of all, Rogers never served in the military (and was too old to be in the service during the Vietnam War years, anyway). And there's no evidence he had a criminal record or sported any tattoos under those sweaters. Even so, rumors about this guy who just wanted to be our neighbor keep popping up from time to time.

More info: www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/mrrogers.asp

-- David Colker

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