Samuel Chamberlin Newbury, who served as director of productions for Fred Rogers Co. for nearly three decades, died May 22 at his home in Pittsburgh of cancer. He was 69.
Newbury is best remembered as the producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and as right-hand man of the show’s creator and namesake, Fred Rogers. He worked for Rogers’ production company Family Communications, Inc. (now known as Fred Rogers Co.) for 28 years from 1986 until his retirement in 2012.
“He was incredibly smart, very creative, and Fred really liked to work with him because he was always prepared,” said Bill Isler, c.e.o. of Fred Rogers Co. “He and Fred had a great relationship for years.”
Newbury got his start working as a cameraman for Newsroom with Jim Lehrer at KERA in Dallas. In 1974 he left Dallas for a position at WQED in Pittsburgh, where he worked until leaving in 1981 to produce Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Newbury produced the show with Rogers for five years before becoming director of production at Family Communications, Inc., where his role expanded into non-broadcast projects as well. These included work with childcare professionals on creating educational materials for children, covering topics such as living with cancer, resisting prejudices and controlling anger.
After retirement, Newbury explored his interest in ceramics, worked on interfaith dialogues in his community, and became a dedicated supporter of the Chatham Baroque Society.
Newbury is survived by his wife, Jan; his 19-year-old son, David; four brothers, David Newbury, William Newbury, David Myers and Larry Myers; and a sister, Nancy Newbury Andresen.
The family asks that contributions be made to Oxfam America for its work in Peru.