TV Personalities

Roger Cook from ‘This Old House’ Wiki – Illness/Health Update

Who is Roger Cook?

Roger Cook was born in the United States of America, apparently in the mid-1950s. He is a landscape contractor, television personality, and contributor, best known for being the host of the program “This Old House”, which has been airing on PBS since 1988. He’s been associated with the show for most of his career.

The Net Worth of Roger Cook

As of mid-2020, Roger Cook’s net worth is estimated to be over $11 million, earned primarily through a long and successful career on television. He is one of the most tenured members of PBS and “This Old House”, serving not only on television but in other background endeavors as well, even working on the editorial board of the magazine named after the show.

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Roger Cook One of the original four legends of @thisoldhouse. I grew up watching Roger every weekend and thought will I ever have that much knowledge about something. I felt like Roger could answer any question thrown at him. It inspired me to soak up as much knowledge as I could. I also never realized how much went into landscape and hardscape that I had taken for granted. Roger never lost that hero status to me. 11/12 yrs ago it was a late night Lowe’s run and in isle 13 stood “the” Roger Cook….. It was like a high school dance (for me). I tried to muster up enough courage to say hi. Tried it a 100times in my head. Even called @tchourihan and told her who I was seeing 50’ away…… I walked down the isle and kept walking….. I felt like I knew him, but knew he wouldn’t have a clue who I was… couldn’t do it….. I’m nuts!!! • Roger, Thank You for being a mentor and divulging every secret you have to people you don’t know. I think I was obsessed w/ the fact that by educating people (clients) and making a job look amazing you could put a HUGE smile on someone’s face. It was never about money on TOH and I wanted to bring that joy to someone w/ my knowledge, passion and skill. I still do!! • It’s a bummer we will see you a little less on @thisoldhouse & @askTOH, but health and family come first. God bless and know that you have inspired an army of craftsman to carry on the legacy/ craft you taught us for 35yrs through a tv screen. • #thisoldhouse#askthisoldhouse#respect#rogercook#legend#thankyou

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Early Life, Education, and Career Beginnings

At a young age, Roger grew up discovering an interest in the environment, particularly the conservation of natural habitats and associated wildlife, which eventually transitioned to an interest in designing and creating outdoor sceneries. After matriculating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Maine where he took up a degree in wildlife management and conservation law. The university is known for being the flagship of the entire University of Maine system, one of the few higher educational institutions which have space, sea, and land grants.

Afterwards, he moved to settle in Massachusetts, where he began learning more about landscaping. After taking up proper training, he became a certified contractor in the area, and also became a member of the Arborist Associations. He became a key figure within the landscape contractors group in Massachusetts, joining the board of directors of New England Grows. In 1982, he established his company called the K & R Tree and Landscape Company, named after himself and his wife.

This Old House

As Roger grew to prominence in the area, he became contracted for bigger and more valuable projects.

Roger Cook

This eventually led to his association in “This Old House”, as the company contracted them to become the landscapers for numerous projects for the show, as well as for the magazine. He was named as the landscape foreman, and they would eventually become a pivotal part of the show’s continuation.

“This Old House” is a home improvement show, which follows various remodeling projects that are often done in weeks. The show initially began as a mini-series, but eventually rose to fame so that the producers decided to continue it as a regular show. It has won over 17 Emmy Awards during its run, and has created numerous sister shows and spin-offs, including “The New Yankee Workshop” “The This Old House Tour”, and “This Old House Classics”.

The show focuses on remodeling older homes, usually of modest value or size. The owners of the house often work together with the crew, a tactic that many other shows would later adopt. Eventually, the show shifted to showcase more luxury landscapes and houses.

The Success of This Old House

While Cook had been working in “This Old House” since the early-1980s, it was only in 1988 that he was signed on to become a full-time cast member of the show. Following disputes with sponsors in the 1990s, shifts in cast and sponsorships ensued, but the show continued to fare well critically, and was a hit in the ratings too.

Posted by This Old House on Sunday, April 2, 2017

In 2003, host Kevin O’Connor would join the cast, and it has continued to air with numerous specials such as for anniversaries.

Aside from the main program, Roger also became involved with the spin-off “Ask This Old House”, in which the cast members of the show answer questions written in by viewers; guest members are often conscripted to help answer these questions. The success of the show prompted the creation of “This Old House” magazine, and Roger became a member of the editorial board. The magazine releases around eight issues a year, and with the advent of the internet, they also created a website that showcases tips, how-to instructions, and inspiring designs for viewers.

It also contains episodes of the shows, live broadcasts of renovations underway, and information about the cast.

Health Issues

As the years progressed, fans noticed that Cook was taking a significantly lesser role. In the mid-2010s, there were seasons that he wasn’t a part of several renovation programs, and was participating in less and less screen time. He had become known for his limp while walking, and while he never specified as to the reason of the injury, the limp had somehow had become worse at this time. Following numerous questions about his condition, he finally came forward in 2018 to announce that he would be taking a significantly reduced role in all “This Old House” projects, due to several health issues he was battling at once.

He never specified what diseases he was dealing with, though some rumors state that he is suffering from spinal stenosis, a very unpredictable disease that affects the spinal nerves, leading to numerous conditions in the body. Others believed that the disease may be something akin to Parkinson’s, another nervous system related disease that leads to stiffness, slower or uncontrollable movement. The two are diseases that are often related though stenosis is harder to diagnose due to the many symptoms that can be associated with it. There were also reports that he had suffered a heart attack or some form of heart disease; none of the news and rumors have been confirmed.

Personal Life

Roger married Kathleen in the early 1980s, and she was partly responsible for helping create his landscaping business. They have two children together. In the late 2000s, his wife was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer, which later took her life in 2010. He resides with his children in Burlington, Massachusetts, and he also has a home at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

After a few years of being barely active on “This Old House”, host Kevin O’Connor made the announcement that Roger had officially stepped down and retired due to medical concerns, announced during a segment on “The Tonight Show”. With him leaving, he was replaced by Jenn Nawada, a veteran of the show who’s been a guest multiple times.

David Leigh

Joined Biography Panda in May 2020. Formerly deputy celebrity editor for Elle magazine. Studied at The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

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