One of the most memorable characters on the children’s show, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, was Mr. McFeely, Mr. Rogers’ mail carrier. Played by David Newell, the character appeared in over 400 episodes, from 1968 to 2001, and become known to generations of kids with his catchphrase, “Speedy delivery!” Now, someone else in his family is carrying on his legacy both onscreen and off. David’s grown-up son, Alex Newell, is an actual mail carrier for the United States Postal Service, and he recently appeared as a postal worker on the Mister Rogers spinoff series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, as reported by People. Read on to find out more about both Newells and how Alex ended up following in his father’s fictional footsteps.
Alex made a cameo in a recent episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Both Alex and David were interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for an Aug. 17 story about Alex’s appearance on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, his work with the USPS, and their family. While Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is an animated series, Alex appeared in a live-action segment in Wednesday’s episode as a mail carrier who makes sure a young girl’s care package gets delivered to her friend. Chris Loggins, the show’s supervising producer, said that the 39-year-old was cast to show “a serendipitous case of life imitating art.”
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Alex became a mail carrier after trying out acting.
According to the interview, Alex moved to Los Angeles and wanted to become an actor. He appeared in a few independent films, but later moved back to Pittsburgh where he met his fiancée. He now has a stepson and a one-year-old son of his own named Ashton. He looked for civil service jobs and ended up with USPS. “You’re kidding!” David said was his reaction to finding out his son’s new job. “How ironic he would be a delivery slash postman, and I’ve been pretending to be one for over 40 years!”
CBS Pittsburgh reports that Alex’s postal route is even in the same neighborhood where Fred and Joanne Rogers lived. (Fred died in 2003. Joanne passed away in January of this year.)
He was proud to honor his dad.
Alex told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he agreed to appear on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood because it is “definitely important to carry on the legacy of what Mister Rogers created.” He also saw it as a way of honoring his dad, who he called the “greatest teacher for me and every other kid that grew up with the show.”
And David’s days as Mr. McFeely aren’t all over, either. According to People, he still makes occasional public appearances in character.
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Alex grew up around the Mister Rogers set.
David wasn’t only an actor on Mister Rogers Neighborhood, he was also first a production assistant and later the Director of Public Relations for Fred Rogers Productions. So, it’s no surprise that Alex was around the set quite a bit. “When you’re living around it, you don’t realize how special and kind of cool it is,” Alex told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The paper also noted that David and Fred were personally close and that Fred was the first visitor he and his wife had in the hospital, each time she gave birth to one of their children. In addition to Alex, David and his wife, Nan, have two other children, Catherine and Taylor.
He’s now passing his dad and Roger’s legacy down to the next generation.
Alex’s son is a little young to understand Mister Rogers or Daniel Tiger yet, but he’s started to check out some episodes. “I’m so proud of him and his family,” David said of his son. “He’s such a wonderful dad. It does my heart good to go over there and see Alex taking such an interest in his son … Fred would be so delighted to know that too, because that’s exactly what Fred was doing with the program: encouraging family communication.”
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