Don Brockett was born in 1930 and lived in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, throughout his life. He produced, directed, wrote, composed, and usually performed in most of his own shows from the late 1950s until his sudden death in 1995. During his stage career, he also simultaneously managed several other entertainment acts such as Jack and Sally Jenkins and the popular Turtle Creek band, The Vogues. Mr. Brockett was nationally known due to his portrayal of Chef Brockett on the PBS children’s education series
Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for over thirty years.
What truly made Don Brockett unique were his stage productions performed in and around the city of Pittsburgh. Most of these productions also toured in neighboring states and several were performed throughout the country and Off-Broadway in New York City. A large number of his early shows were created for the duo of Brockett and Barbara Mazziotti, (later Russell), who performed musical revues to critical and commercial praise. In 1985 he premiered
Forbidden Pittsburgh, which became a celebrated event that would run annually for the next decade. The show featured popular Broadway songs customized to poke fun at local topics, trends, and personalities. He once estimated that he had employed over one thousand Pittsburgh entertainers throughout his career, several of which went on to greater fame like Florence Lacy, Beth Austin, Lenora Nemetz, Rob Marshall, Pam Klinger, and Michael Keaton.
Later in Don Brockett’s career, he began to acquire supporting roles in film. He appeared in thirty-five films, many of which were filmed in the Pittsburgh area. His first film was
Flashdance (1983). He then went on to appear in other major motion pictures, such as
Fletch Lives with Chevy Chase and
Hoffa with Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito. He also had a small role in the Academy Award winner for Best Picture of 1991,
The Silence of the Lambs.