Children’s TV Activist Peggy Charren Dies, 86

Children’s television activist Peggy Charren died Thursday, according to the Boston Globe.

Charren was 86 and suffered from vascular dementia.

In the 1960, Charren, a parent, founded Action for Children’s Television, which pushed for more educational shows and less advertising for sugary foods and toys based on cartoon characters.

ACT’s campaign led to the Children’s Television Act becoming law in 1990. ACT disbanded shortly afterward.

"Peggy Charren was both conscience and choir for children's television,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who was a prime mover behind childrens’ TV legislation that required broadcasters to air minimum hours of educational programming and created the V-chip. “She sat on the shoulder of every commercial broadcaster, constantly reminding them that serving the public interest meant elevating the educational level of our children, not undermining it. I have never had a more effective and committed partner in working to advance such an important public policy goal than Peggy Charren.”

Charren received an Emmy, a Peabody award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work.

“The public television community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Peggy Charren," said Patrick Butler, president of the Association of Public Television Stations. "Peggy was a true champion of educational television for children, which remains a central mission of public television stations throughout America. Through her efforts, millions of young Americans have gotten ready to learn in school and succeed in life, and it’s hard to imagine a better legacy than that."

APTS gave Charren its David J. Brugger Grassroots Advocacy Award in 2009. "No one ever deserved this award more than Peggy," Butler said. “We mourn her loss, but we celebrate her amazing life of service, and we are grateful for her immense contributions to public television and to the children of America.”

For its part, Nickelodeon said: “Peggy Charren was TVs first true kids’ advocate and someone who we profoundly respected. She was a pioneer who transformed the TV landscape to serve kids with high quality programming. Her legacy is one that we will always honor and uphold.”

Disney Channels Worldwide issued these throughts:"Peggy Charren's mission was speaking out on behalf of the most impressionable viewers, and her legacy will endure as a greatly respected figure in the transformation of children's television and the positive potential of media to support early learning."