William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers, 1879 - 1935

portrait of Will Rogers


Born: 4 November 1879, Oologah, Indian Territory (Oklahoma)
Died: 15 August 1935, Point Barrow, Alaska Territory

Born to Clement Rogers and Mary Schrimsher on the Dog Iron Ranch near the present-day Oolagah, Oklahoma on this day in 1879. His father was a Cherokee senator and judge, the county that now includes the ranch was named for Clement. "Will" attended Willow Hassel School at Neosho, Missouri and the Kemper Military School at Boonville, Missouri before returning to work the ranch where a freed slave taught him to use a lariat in his chores. In 1901 he went to Argentina with a partner to try ranching for himself, went bust, and sailed to South Africa where he worked horses for the British Army. The Boer War had just ended so the job didn't last long, he joined "Texas Jack's Wild West Circus" and started showing off his riding and roping in South Africa, then joined the Wirth Brothers Circus in Australia, finally returning to the US in 1904. Attending a vaudeville show at Madison Square Gardens, Rogers roped a steer that had escaped and was heading into the crowd, leading to a decade playing the Victoria Roof and most of the next as part of Flo Ziegfield's "Midnight Frolic" and "Ziegfield Follies". After fifty silent films, in which his witty commentary was useless, he signed with Fox Film in 1929 and was the highest paid actor in the US in 1934. A big fan of flying, Rogers had over 500,000 miles in the air before his final trip with aviation pioneer Wiley Post. Post's nose-heavy Lockheed crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Barrow, Alaska.

Biography from Wikipedia and Turner Classic Movies

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Will Rogers quotes:

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Quotes found : 179 — (15 per page, this is page 1 of 12) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Next

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