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For other uses, see Will Rogers (disambiguation) and William Rogers (disambiguation).

William Penn Adair Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American vaudeville performer, actor, and humorous social commentator. He was born as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, in the Indian Territory (now part of Oklahoma), and is known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son". As an entertainer and humorist, he traveled around the world three times, made 71 films (50 silent films and 21 "talkies"), and wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns. By the mid-1930s, Rogers was hugely popular in the United States for his leading political wit and was the highest paid of Hollywood film stars. He died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska.

Will Rogers
Rogers in 1922
Mayor of Beverly Hills
In office
1928–1928
Personal details
Born
William Penn Adair Rogers

(1879-11-04)November 4, 1879
Oologah, Indian Territory
DiedAugust 15, 1935(1935-08-15) (aged 55)
Point Barrow, Alaska Territory, U.S.
Cause of deathAirplane crash
Resting placeWill Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma
NationalityCherokee Nation
United States
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Betty Blake
(m. 1908⁠–⁠1935)​
Children4, including Will Rogers Jr. and James Blake Rogers
OccupationActor, vaudevillian, cowboy, columnist, humorist, radio personality

Rogers began his career as a performer on vaudeville. His rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies, which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts. His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity. Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion and provided Americans with first-hand accounts of his world travels. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that found general acclaim from a national audience with no one offended. His aphorisms, couched in humorous terms, were widely quoted: "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Will Rogers in the film Down to Earth, from The Film Daily, 1932

One of Rogers's most famous sayings was "I never met a man I didn't like" and he even provided an epigram on this famous epigram:

When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident [sic] like." I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.

Contents

The White House on the Verdigris River, Will Rogers' birthplace, near Oologah, Oklahoma

Rogers was born on his parents' Dog Iron Ranch in the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory, near present-day Oologah, Oklahoma, now in Rogers County, named in honor of his father, Clem Vann Rogers. The house in which he was born had been built in 1875 and was known as the "White House on the Verdigris River". His parents, Clement Vann Rogers (1839–1911) and Mary America Schrimsher (1838–1890), were both of mixed race and Cherokee ancestry, and identified as Cherokee. Rogers quipped that his ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower, but they "met the boat". His mother was one quarter-Cherokee and born into the Paint Clan. She died when Will was eleven. His father remarried less than two years after her death.

Rogers was the youngest of eight children. He was named for the Cherokee leader Col. William Penn Adair. Only three of his siblings, sisters Sallie Clementine, Maude Ethel, and May (Mary), survived into adulthood.

His father, Clement, was a leader in the Cherokee Nation. An attorney and Cherokee judge, he was a Confederate veteran. He served as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. Rogers County, Oklahoma, is named in honor of him. He served several terms in the Cherokee Senate.

Roach (1980) presents a sociological-psychological assessment of the relationship between Will and his father during the formative boyhood and teenage years. Clement had high expectations for his son and wanted him to be more responsible and business-minded. Will was more easygoing and oriented toward the loving affection offered by his mother, Mary, rather than the harshness of his father. The personality clash increased after his mother's death when the boy was eleven. Young Will went from one venture to another with little success. Only after Will won acclaim in vaudeville did the rift begin to heal. Clement’s death in 1911 precluded a full reconciliation.

Will Rogers attended school in Missouri, at the Willow Hassel School at Neosho, and Kemper Military School at Boonville. He was a good student and an avid reader of The New York Times, but he dropped out of school after the 10th grade. Rogers later said that he was a poor student, saying that he "studied the Fourth Reader for ten years". He was much more interested in cowboys and horses, and learned to rope and use a lariat.

First jobs

In 1899, Rogers appeared in the St. Louis Fair as part of the Mulhall Rodeo. Near the end of 1901, when he was 22 years old, he and a friend left home hoping to work as gauchos in Argentina. They arrived in Argentina in May 1902, and spent five months trying to make it as ranch owners in the Pampas. Rogers and his partner lost all their money, and he later said, “I was ashamed to send home for more.” The two friends separated and Rogers sailed for South Africa. It is often claimed he took a job breaking in horses for the British Army, but the Boer War had ended three months earlier. Rogers was hired at James Piccione's ranch near Mooi River Station in the Pietermaritzburg district of Natal.

Rogers began his show business career as a trick roper in "Texas Jack's Wild West Circus" in South Africa:

He [Texas Jack] had a little Wild West aggregation that visited the camps and did a tremendous business. I did some roping and riding, and Jack, who was one of the smartest showmen I ever knew, took a great interest in me. It was he who gave me the idea for my original stage act with my pony. I learned a lot about the show business from him. He could do a bum act with a rope that an ordinary man couldn't get away with, and make the audience think it was great, so I used to study him by the hour, and from him I learned the great secret of the show business—knowing when to get off. It's the fellow who knows when to quit that the audience wants more of.

Grateful for the guidance but anxious to move on, Rogers quit the circus and went to Australia. Texas Jack gave him a reference letter for the Wirth Brothers Circus there, and Rogers continued to perform as a rider and trick roper, and worked on his pony act. He returned to the United States in 1904, appeared at the Saint Louis World's Fair, and began to try his roping skills on the vaudeville circuits.

Vaudeville

Rogers sometime before 1900

On a trip to New York City, Rogers was at Madison Square Garden, on April 27, 1905, when a wild steer broke out of the arena and began to climb into the viewing stands. Rogers roped the steer to the delight of the crowd. The feat got front page attention from the newspapers, giving him valuable publicity and an audience eager to see more. Willie Hammerstein saw his vaudeville act, and signed Rogers to appear on the Victoria Roof—which was literally on a rooftop—with his pony. For the next decade, Rogers estimated he worked for 50 weeks a year at the Roof and at the city's myriad vaudeville theaters.

Rogers later recalled these early years:

I got a job on Hammerstein's Roof at $140 a week for myself, my horse, and the man who looked after it. I remained on the roof for eight weeks, always getting another two-week extension when Willie Hammerstein would say to me after the Monday matinee, 'you're good for two weeks more'... Marty Shea, the booking agent for the Columbia, came to me and asked if I wanted to play burlesque. They could use an extra attraction....I told him I would think about it, but 'Burlesque' sounded to me then as something funny." Shea and Sam A. Scribner, the general manager of the Columbia Amusement Company, approached Rogers a few days later. Shea told Scribner Rogers was getting $150 and would take $175. "'What's he carrying?', Scribner asked Shea. 'Himself, a horse, and a man', answered Shea." Scribner replied, "'Give him eight weeks at $250'".

In the fall of 1915, Rogers began to appear in Florenz Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic. The variety revue began at midnight in the top-floor night club of Ziegfeld's New Amsterdam Theatre, and drew many influential—and regular—customers. By this time, Rogers had refined his act. His monologues on the news of the day followed a similar routine every night. He appeared on stage in his cowboy outfit, nonchalantly twirling his lasso, and said, "Well, what shall I talk about? I ain't got anything funny to say. All I know is what I read in the papers." He would make jokes about what he had read in that day's newspapers. The line "All I know is what I read in the papers" is often incorrectly described as Rogers's most famous punch line, when it was his opening line.

His run at the New Amsterdam ran into 1916, and Rogers's growing popularity led to an engagement on the more famous Ziegfeld Follies. At this stage, Rogers's act was strictly physical, a silent display of daring riding and clever tricks with his lariat. He discovered that audiences identified the cowboy as the archetypical American—doubtless aided by Theodore Roosevelt's image as a cowboy. Rogers's cowboy was an unfettered man free of institutional restraints, with no bureaucrats to order his life. When he came back to the United States and worked in Wild West shows, he slowly began adding the occasional spoken ad lib, such as "Swingin' a rope's all right... if your neck ain't in it." Audiences responded to his laconic but pointed humor, and were just as fascinated by his frontier Oklahoma twang. By 1916, Rogers was a featured star in Ziegfeld's Follies on Broadway, as he moved into satire by transforming the "Ropin' Fool" to the "Talkin' Fool". At one performance, with President Woodrow Wilson in the audience, Rogers improvised a "roast" of presidential policies that had Wilson, and the entire audience, in stitches and proved his remarkable skill at off-the-cuff, witty commentary on current events. He built the rest of his career around that skill.

A 1922 editorial in The New York Times said that "Will Rogers in the Follies is carrying on the tradition of Aristophanes, and not unworthily." Rogers branched into silent films too, for Samuel Goldwyn's company Goldwyn Pictures. He made his first silent movie, Laughing Bill Hyde (1918), which was filmed in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Many early films were filmed and produced in the New York area in those years. Rogers could make a film, yet easily still rehearse and perform in the Follies. He eventually appeared in most of the Follies, from 1916 to 1925.

Films

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Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918, as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in Laughing Bill Hyde. A three-year contract with Goldwyn, at triple the Broadway salary, moved Rogers west. He bought a ranch in Pacific Palisades and set up his own production company. While Rogers enjoyed film acting, his appearances in silent movies suffered from the obvious restrictions of silence, as he had gained his fame as a commentator on stage. He wrote many of the title cards appearing in his films. In 1923, he began a one-year stint for Hal Roach and made 12 pictures. Among the films he made for Roach in 1924 were three directed by Rob Wagner: Two Wagons Both Covered, Going to Congress, and Our Congressman. He made two other feature silents and a travelogue series in 1927. After that, he did not return to the screen until beginning work in the 'talkies' in 1929.

Rogers made 48 silent movies, but with the arrival of sound in 1929, he became a top star in that medium. His first sound film, They Had to See Paris (1929), gave him the chance to exercise his verbal wit. He played a homespun farmer (State Fair) in 1933, an old-fashioned doctor (Dr. Bull) in 1933, a small town banker (David Harum) in 1934, and a rustic politician (Judge Priest) in 1934. He was also in County Chairman (1935), Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), and In Old Kentucky (1935). His favorite director was John Ford.

Rogers appeared in 21 feature films alongside such noted performers as Lew Ayres, Billie Burke, Richard Cromwell, Jane Darwell, Andy Devine, Janet Gaynor, Rochelle Hudson, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Hattie McDaniel, Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, ZaSu Pitts, Dick Powell, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Mickey Rooney, and Peggy Wood. He was directed three times by John Ford. He appeared in four films with his friend Stepin Fetchit (aka Lincoln T. Perry): David Harum (1934), Judge Priest (1934), Steamboat Round the Bend (1935) and The County Chairman (1935).

With his voice becoming increasingly familiar to audiences, Rogers essentially played himself in each film, without film makeup, managing to ad-lib and sometimes work in his familiar commentaries on politics. The clean moral tone of his films resulted in various public schools taking their classes to attend special showings during the school day. His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. His popularity soared to new heights with films including Young As You Feel, Judge Priest, and Life Begins at 40, with Richard Cromwell and Rochelle Hudson.

Newspapers and magazines

Rogers was an indefatigable worker. He toured the lecture circuit. The New York Times syndicated his weekly newspaper column from 1922 to 1935. Going daily in 1926, his short column "Will Rogers Says" reached 40 million newspaper readers. He also wrote frequently for the mass-circulation upscale magazine The Saturday Evening Post. Rogers advised Americans to embrace the frontier values of neighborliness and democracy on the domestic front, while remaining clear of foreign entanglements. He took a strong, highly popular stand in favor of aviation, including a military air force of the sort his flying buddy General Billy Mitchell advocated.

Rogers began a weekly column, titled "Slipping the Lariat Over", at the end of 1922. He had already published a book of wisecracks and had begun a steady stream of humor books. Through the columns for the McNaught Syndicate between 1922 and 1935, as well as his personal appearances and radio broadcasts, he won the loving admiration of the American people, poking jibes in witty ways at the issues of the day and prominent people—often politicians. He wrote from a nonpartisan point of view and became a friend of presidents and a confidant of the great. Loved for his cool mind and warm heart, he was often considered the successor to such greats as Artemus Ward and Mark Twain. Rogers was not the first entertainer to use political humor before his audience. Others, such as Broadway comedian Raymond Hitchcock and Britain's Sir Harry Lauder, preceded him by several years. Bob Hope is the best known political humorist to follow Rogers's example.

Radio

Radio was the exciting new medium, and Rogers became a star there as well, broadcasting his newspaper pieces. From 1929 to 1935, he made radio broadcasts for the Gulf Oil Company. This weekly Sunday evening show, The Gulf Headliners, ranked among the top radio programs in the country. Since Rogers easily rambled from one subject to another, reacting to his studio audience, he often lost track of the half-hour time limit in his earliest broadcasts, and was cut off in mid-sentence. To correct this, he brought in a wind-up alarm clock, and its on-air buzzing alerted him to begin wrapping up his comments. By 1935, his show was being announced as "Will Rogers and his Famous Alarm Clock".

Photograph by Underwood & Underwood, unknown date

In 1908, Rogers married Betty Blake (1879–1944), and the couple had four children: Will Rogers Jr., Mary Amelia, James Blake, and Fred Stone. Will Jr. became a World War II hero, played his father in two films, and was elected to Congress. Mary became a Broadway actress, and James "Jim" was a newspaperman and rancher; Fred died of diphtheria at age two. The family lived in New York, but they spent summers in Oklahoma. In 1911, Rogers bought a 20-acre (8.1 ha) ranch near Claremore, Oklahoma, which he intended to use as his retirement home. He paid US$500 an acre, equal to $14,541 per acre today.

From about 1925 to 1928, Rogers traveled the length and breadth of the United States in a "lecture tour". (He began his lectures by pointing out that "A humorist entertains, and a lecturer annoys.") During this time he became the first civilian to fly from coast to coast with pilots flying the mail in early air mail flights. The National Press Club dubbed him "Ambassador at Large of the United States". He visited Mexico City, along with Charles Lindbergh, as a guest of U.S. Ambassador Dwight Morrow. Rogers gave numerous after-dinner speeches, became a popular convention speaker, and gave dozens of benefits for victims of floods, droughts, or earthquakes.

Rogers traveled to Asia to perform in 1931, and to Central and South America the following year. In 1934, he made a globe-girdling tour and returned to play the lead in Eugene O'Neill's stage play Ah, Wilderness!. He had tentatively agreed to go on loan from Fox to MGM to star in the 1935 movie version of the play. But, concerned about a fan's reaction to the "facts-of-life" talk between his character and the latter's son, he declined the role. He and Wiley Post made plans to fly to Alaska that summer.

Rogers (right) with Seattle Mayor Charles L. Smith about 1935

Rogers was a Democrat but has historically been known as apolitical. He was friends with every president starting with Theodore Roosevelt and he notably supported Republican Calvin Coolidge over John W. Davis in 1924. During the Republican Convention of 1928, while criticizing the party platform, Rogers welcomed the nomination of Kaw citizen Charles Curtis as vice president, although he felt the leadership had deliberately kept him from the presidency: "The Republican Party owed him something, but I didn’t think they would be so low down as to pay him that way." Four years later, when the Republican leadership attempted to remove the more conservative Curtis from the Hoover ticket, Rogers defended him, and took credit with keeping him on the ticket: "I saved my ‘Injun’ Charley Curtis for vice presidency. The rascals was just ready to stab him when we caught ‘em."

In 1932 Rogers supported Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was his favorite president and politician. Although he supported Roosevelt's New Deal, he could just as easily joke about it: "Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it's not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago."

Rogers served as a goodwill ambassador to Mexico, and had a brief stint as mayor of Beverly Hills, a largely ceremonial position that allowed Rogers to joke about do-nothing politicians such as himself. During the depths of the Great Depression, angered by Washington's inability to feed the people, he embarked on a cross country fundraising tour for the Red Cross.

1928 presidential campaign

Rogers thought all campaigning was bunk. To prove the point, he mounted a mock campaign in 1928 for the presidency. His only vehicle was the pages of Life, a weekly humor magazine. The campaign was in large part an effort to boost circulation for the struggling magazine. Rogers ran as the "bunkless candidate" of the Anti-Bunk Party. His campaign promise was that, if elected, he would resign. Every week, from Memorial Day through Election Day, Rogers caricatured the farcical humors of grave campaign politics. On election day he declared victory and resigned (he did not actually receive any state electoral votes).

Asked what issues would motivate voters? Prohibition: "What's on your hip is bound to be on your mind" (July 26).

Asked if there should be presidential debates? Yes: "Joint debate—in any joint you name" (August 9).

How about appeals to the common man? Easy: "You can't make any commoner appeal than I can" (August 16).

What does the farmer need? Obvious: "He needs a punch in the jaw if he believes that either of the parties cares a damn about him after the election" (August 23).

Can voters be fooled? Darn tootin': "Of all the bunk handed out during a campaign the biggest one of all is to try and compliment the knowledge of the voter" (September 21).

What about a candidate's image? Ballyhoo: "I hope there is some sane people who will appreciate dignity and not showmanship in their choice for the presidency" (October 5).

What of ugly campaign rumors? Don't worry: "The things they whisper aren't as bad as what they say out loud" (October 12).

After Rogers gained recognition as a humorist-philosopher in vaudeville, he gained a national audience in acting and literary careers from 1915 to 1935. In these years, Rogers increasingly expressed the views of the "common man" in America. He downplayed academic credentials, noting, "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Americans of all walks admired his individualism, his appreciation for democratic ideas, and his liberal philosophies on most issues. Moreover, Rogers extolled hard work in order to succeed, and such expressions affirmed American theories about how to realize individual success. Rogers symbolized the self-made man, the common man, who believed in America, in progress, and in the American Dream of upward mobility. His humor never offended even those who were the targets of it.

In the 1920s, the United States was happy and prosperous in various ways (leading to the nickname Roaring Twenties), but it also suffered from rapid change and social tensions. Some people were disenchanted by, and alienated from, the outside world. Many common people believed that World War I had resulted in extensive and largely senseless carnage, and they supported isolationism for the US. According to scholar Peter Rollins (1976), Rogers appeared to be an anchor of stability; his conventional home life and traditional moral code reminded people of a recent past. His newspaper column, which ran from 1922 to 1935, expressed his traditional morality and his belief that political problems were not as serious as they sounded. In his films, Rogers began by playing a simple cowboy; his characters evolved to explore the meaning of innocence in ordinary life. In his last movies, Rogers explores a society fracturing into competing classes from economic pressures. Throughout his career, Rogers was a link to a better, more comprehensible past.

In 1926, the high-circulation weekly magazine The Saturday Evening Post financed a European tour for Rogers, in return for publication of his articles. Rogers made whirlwind visits to numerous European capitals and met with both international figures and common people. His articles reflected a fear that Europeans would go to war again. He recommended isolationism for the United States. He reasoned that for the moment, American needs could best be served by concentrating on domestic questions and avoiding foreign entanglements. He commented:

America has a unique record. We never lost a war and we never won a conference in our lives. I believe that we could without any degree of egotism, single-handed lick any nation in the world. But we can't confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on.

Rogers was famous for his use of language. He effectively used up-to-date slang and invented new words to fit his needs. He also made frequent use of puns and terms which closely linked him to the cowboy tradition, as well as speech patterns using a southern dialect.

Brown (1979) argues that Rogers held up a "magic mirror" that reflected iconic American values. Rogers was the archetypical "American Democrat" thanks to his knack of moving freely among all social classes, his stance above political parties, and his passion for fair play. He represented the "American Adam" with his independence and self-made record. Rogers furthermore represented the "American Prometheus" through his commitment to utilitarian methods and his ever-optimistic faith in future progress.

Rogers on the wing of a Lockheed floatplane, an amphibian or flying boat belonging to famed aviation pioneer Wiley Post, hours before their fatal crash on August 15, 1935

Will Rogers became an advocate for the aviation industry after noticing advancements in Europe and befriending Charles Lindbergh, the most famous American aviator of the era. During his 1926 European trip, Rogers witnessed the European advances in commercial air service and compared them to the almost nonexistent facilities in the United States. Rogers' newspaper columns frequently emphasized the safety record, speed, and convenience of this means of transportation, and he helped shape public opinion on the subject.

In 1935, the famed aviator Wiley Post, an Oklahoman, became interested in surveying a mail-and-passenger air route from the West Coast to Russia. He attached a Lockheed Explorer wing to a Lockheed Orion fuselage, fitting floats for landing in the lakes of Alaska and Siberia. Rogers visited Post often at the airport in Burbank, California, while he was modifying the aircraft. He asked Post to fly him through Alaska in search of new material for his newspaper column.

After making a test flight in July, Post and Rogers left Lake Washington in Renton in the Lockheed Orion-Explorer in early August and then made several stops in Alaska. While Post piloted the aircraft, Rogers wrote his columns on his typewriter. Before they left Fairbanks, they signed and mailed a burgee, a distinguishing flag belonging to the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club. The signed burgee is on display at South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, California. On August 15, they left Fairbanks for Point Barrow.

About 20 miles southwest of Point Barrow, having difficulty figuring their position due to bad weather, they landed in a lagoon to ask directions. On takeoff, the engine failed at low altitude, and the aircraft plunged into the lagoon, shearing off the right wing, and ended up inverted in the shallow water of the lagoon. Both men died instantly. Rogers was buried August 21, 1935, in Forest Lawn Park in Glendale, California; it was a temporary interment. He was reinterred at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.

Experts have studied the factors in the accident, and still disagree about it. Bobby H. Johnson and R. Stanley Mohler argued in a 1971 article that Post had ordered floats that did not reach Seattle in time for the planned trip. He used a set that was designed for a larger type of plane, making the already nose-heavy hybrid aircraft even more nose-heavy. But, Bryan and Frances Sterling maintain in their 2001 book Forgotten Eagle: Wiley Post: America's Heroic Aviation Pioneer that their research showed the floats were the correct type for the aircraft, thereby suggesting another cause for the crash.

Will Rogers's tomb from the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma
Stained glass window at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma, depicting the many and diverse roles Rogers filled in his life

In 1962, the town of Higgins, Texas (near a ranch where Rogers had worked in 1922), began an annual observance of Will Rogers Day, in honor of the cowboy philosopher, who remained a close friend of Frank Ewing, the son of his old employer.

Oklahoma honors

Before his death, the state of Oklahoma commissioned a statue of Rogers, to be displayed as one of the two it has in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the United States Capitol. Rogers agreed on the condition that his image would be placed facing the House Chamber, supposedly so he could "keep an eye on Congress". Of the statues in this part of the Capitol, the Rogers sculpture is the only one facing the Chamber entrance—a stakeout location for camera crews looking to catch House members during and after voting. It is also a common background for reporters and lawmakers, with staff often directing the media to be at the “Will Rogers stakeout” at a certain time. According to some Capitol guides, each U.S. president rubs the left shoe of the Rogers statue for good luck before entering the House Chamber to give the State of the Union address.

A state appropriation paid for the work. It was sculpted in clay by Jo Davidson. He had been a close friend of Rogers. Davidson had the work cast in bronze in Brussels, Belgium. Dedicated on June 6, 1939, before a crowd of more than 2,000 people, the statue faces the floor entrance of the House of Representatives Chamber next to National Statuary Hall. The Architect of the Capitol, David Lynn, said there had never been such a large ceremony or crowd in the Capitol.

His birthplace of the Dog Iron Ranch is located two miles east of Oologah, Oklahoma. When the Verdigris River valley was flooded to create Oologah Lake as part of a major dam project, the Rogers house was preserved by being moved about ¾ mile (1.2 km) to its present location overlooking the original site.

The family tomb is at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, constructed in nearby Claremore on the site purchased by Rogers in 1911 for his retirement home. On May 19, 1944, Rogers's body was moved from a holding vault in Glendale, California, to the tomb. After his wife Betty died later that year, she was also interred there. A casting of the Davidson sculpture that stands in National Statuary Hall, paid for by Davidson, was installed at the museum. Both the birthplace and the museum are open to the public.

WPA poster, 1941

Many landmarks were named in Rogers' honor: Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, where a recent expansion and renovation included the installation of a statue of Rogers on horseback in front of the terminal. The Will Rogers Turnpike is the section of Interstate 44 between Tulsa and Joplin, Missouri. Near Vinita, Oklahoma, a statue of Rogers was installed at the service plaza that spans the interstate.

Thirteen public schools in Oklahoma have been named for Rogers, including Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. The University of Oklahoma named the large Will Rogers Room in the student union for him. The Boy Scouts of America honored him with the Will Rogers Council and the Will Rogers Scout Reservation near Cleveland.

In 1947, a college football bowl game was named in his honor, but the event folded after the first year.

The Academy of Western Artists, based in Gene Autry, Oklahoma, presents an annual Will Rogers Medallion award for excellence in western literature.

Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma 2021091100008
Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma 2021091100011

Colorado memorial

The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is the name of an 80-foot observation tower on Cheyenne Mountain west of Colorado Springs, at the base of Pikes Peak near the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

California memorials

Rogers' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6401 Hollywood Blvd

Rogers's California home, stables, and polo fields are preserved today for public enjoyment as Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. His widow, Betty, willed the property to the state of California upon her death in 1944, under the condition that polo be played on the field every year; it is home to the Will Rogers Polo Club.

Will Rogers Monument, at the western terminus of Route 66

Several schools have been named for him: Will Rogers Elementary School in Santa Monica, Will Rogers Elementary School in Ventura, middle schools in Long Beach and in Fair Oaks.

Will Rogers Memorial Park, a small park at Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, was named after him, as is Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades.

U.S. Route 66 is known as the Will Rogers Highway; a plaque dedicating the highway to the humorist is located at the western terminus of Route 66 in Santa Monica.

The California Theatre in San Bernardino is the site of the humorist's final show. He always performed in front of a special jewelled curtains and had two of them. While he was using one, he would send the other to the site of his next performance. The curtain used in his final show was retained by the California Theatre. Two memorial murals by Kent Twitchell were installed on the exterior of the fly loft. The California Theatre named one of its reception spaces as the Will Rogers Room.

Texas memorials

The Will Rogers Memorial Center was built in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1936. It includes a mural, a bust and a life-size statue of Will Rogers on Soapsuds, titled Into the Sunset and sculpted by Electra Waggoner Biggs.

Into the Sunset, depicting Rogers riding his horse Soapsuds, on the campus of Texas Tech University

A casting of Into the Sunset stands at the entrance to the main campus quad at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. This memorial was dedicated on February 16, 1950, by Rogers' longtime friend, Amon G. Carter. Another casting is held at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma.

Washington State memorial

A small monument at the Renton airport commemorates the starting point of the fatal 1935 Post-Rogers flight.

National tributes

US Post Office stamp, 1948

In 1936, the NVA Hospital located in Saranac Lake, New York was renamed as the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital by the National Vaudeville Artists association.

On November 4, 1948, the United States Post Office commemorated Rogers with a three-cent postage stamp. In 1979, it issued a United States Postal Service 15-cent stamp of him as part of the "Performing Arts" series.

In 1976, Rogers was among the historical figures depicted in the artwork Our Nation's 200th Birthday, The Telephone's 100th Birthday by Stanley Meltzoff for Bell System.

The Barrow, Alaska airport (BRW), located about 16 miles (26 km) from the location of the fatal airplane crash, is known as the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport.

The Rogers-Post Site, overlooking the lagoon where the plane crashed, has two (or possibly one remaining) monuments. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. A plaque to Rogers and Post was also erected in Barrow.

The World War II Liberty Ship SS Will Rogers was named in his honor.

The final ship of the Benjamin Franklin-class submarines, USS Will Rogers(SSBN-659) was launched in 1966, and commissioned the following year.

On November 4, 2019, Google celebrated his 140th birthday with a Google Doodle.

Rogers was portrayed by A.A. Trimble in cameos in both the 1936 film The Great Ziegfeld, and the 1937 film You're a Sweetheart.

Rogers was portrayed by his son, Will Rogers Jr., in a cameo in the 1949 film Look for the Silver Lining, and as the star of the 1952 film The Story of Will Rogers.

James Whitmore portrayed Rogers in eight runs of the one-man play Will Rogers' USA between 1970 and 2000, including a limited run on Broadway in 1974, and as a television film in 1972. Whitmore changed the monologue each time he performed it, using quotations from Rogers as commentary on events current at the time of the performance.

The Tony Award-winning musical The Will Rogers Follies, produced on Broadway in 1991, starred Keith Carradine in the lead role. Carradine also played Rogers in the 1994 film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.

Silent films

  • One Day in 365 (1922, unreleased)
  • Hollywood (1923) - Himself
  • Jus' Passin' Through (1923, Short) - Jubilo
  • Hustling Hank (1923, Short) - Hank
  • Uncensored Movies (1923, Short) - Lem Skagwillow
  • Two Wagons Both Covered (1923, Short) - Bill Bunian / Joe Jackson
  • The Cowboy Sheik (1924, Short) - Two Straw Bill
  • The Cake Eater (1924, Short)
  • High Brow Stuff (1924, Short)
  • Going to Congress (1924, Short) - Alfalfa Doolittle
  • Don't Park There (1924, Short)
  • Big Moments From Little Pictures (1924, Short) - Himself / Rufus the bullfighter / Robin Hood / Son / Police Chief
  • Jubilo, Jr. (1924, Short) (part of the Our Gang series) - Himself
  • Our Congressman (1924, Short) - Alfalfa Doolittle
  • A Truthful Liar (1924, Short) - Ambassador Alfalfa Doolittle
  • Gee Whiz Genevieve (1924, Short)
  • Tip Toes (1927) - Uncle Hen Kaye
  • A Texas Steer (1927) - Cattle Brander

Travelog Series

  • In Dublin (1927, Short) - Himself
  • In Paris (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Hiking Through Holland (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Hunting For Germans In Berlin (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Through Switzerland And Bavaria (1927, Short) - Himself
  • In London (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Roaming The Emerald Isle (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Prowling Around France (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Winging Round Europe (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Exploring England (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Reeling Down The Rhine (1927, Short) - Himself
  • Over The Bounding Blue (1928, Short) - Himself

Sound films

Biographies

  • Carnes, Mark C. Will Rogers and "His" America (2010).
  • Ketchum, Richard M. Will Rogers: His Life and Times (1973)
  • O'Brien, P. J. (1935). Will Rogers, Ambassador of Good Will Prince of Wit and Wisdom. online edition
  • Robinson, Ray (1996).American Original: A Life of Will Rogers. 288 pp. online edition
  • Rogers, Betty (1941). Will Rogers: His Story As Told By His Wife. 312 pp.
  • Rollins, Peter C. (1984). Will Rogers: A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood, 282 pp.
  • Sterling, Bryan B., and Frances N. Sterling (1989). Will Rogers' World.
  • Yagoda, Ben (1993). Will Rogers: A Biography excerpt and text search

Scholarly studies

  • Brown, William R. (1979). "Will Rogers and His Magic Mirror". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 300–25.
  • Coleman, Timothy S. "All We Know of Nation Is What We See in the Pictures: Will Rogers and the National Imaginary in 1920s and 1930s America". PhD dissertation, Wayne State U. 2003. 183 pp. DAI 2004 64(12): 4245-A. DA3116488 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Jenkins, Ronald Scott. "Representative Clowns: Comedy and Democracy in America". PhD dissertation Harvard U. 1984. 208 pp. DAI 1984 45(4): 1187-A. DA8416931 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
  • Johnson, Bobby H. and R. Stanley Mohler. "Wiley Post, His Winnie Mae, and the World's First Pressure Suit". Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1971.
  • Roach, Fred, Jr. "Will Rogers' Youthful Relationship with His Father, Clem Rogers: a Story of Love and Tension". Chronicles of Oklahoma 1980 58(3): 325–42. ISSN 0009-6024
  • Roach, Fred; Jr (1979). "Vision of the Future: Will Rogers' Support of Commercial Aviation". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 340–64.
  • Rollins, Peter C. "Will Rogers: Symbolic Man, Journalist, and Film Image". Journal of Popular Culture 1976 9(4): 851–77.
  • Rollins, Peter C. (1979). "Will Rogers, Ambassador sans Portfolio: Letters from a Self-made Diplomat to His President". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 326–39.
  • Smallwood, James M. (1988). "Will Rogers of Oklahoma: Spokesman for the 'Common Man'". Journal of the West. 27 (2): 45–49.
  • Southard, Bruce (1979). "Will Rogers and the Language of the Southwest: a Centennial Perspective". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 365–75.
  • Ware, Amy (2009). "Unexpected Cowboy, Unexpected Indian: The Case of Will Rogers". Ethnohistory. 56 (1): 1–34. doi:10.1215/00141801-2008-034.

Books by Rogers

  • Rogers, Will (1975) [1924]. Joseph A. Stout, Jr. (ed.). Rogers-isms: The Cowboy Philosopher On Prohibition. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press. ISBN 0-914956-06-X.
  • Rogers, Will (2003) [1924]. Illiterate Digest. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7661-4321-0.
  • Rogers, Will (1977) [1926]. Joseph A. Stout (ed.). Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat To His President. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press. ISBN 0-914956-09-4.
  • Rogers, Will (1982). Steven K. Gragert (ed.). More letters of a self-made diplomat. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press. ISBN 978-0-914956-22-8.
  • Rogers, Will (1927). There's Not A Bathing Suit in Russia.
  • Rogers, Will (1982) [1928]."He chews to run": Will Rogers' Life magazine articles, 1928. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press. ISBN 0-914956-20-5.
  • Rogers, Will (1983). Steven K. Gragert (ed.). Radio Broadcasts of Will Rogers. Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press. ISBN 0-914956-24-8.
  • Sterling, Bryan and Frances (2001). Forgotten Eagle: Wiley Post: America's Heroic Aviation Pioneer. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-0894-8.
  • Rogers, Will (1926). Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat to His President online edition
  • Rogers, Will, and Joseph H. Carter. Never Met a Man I Didn't Like (1991) excerpt and text search
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers at the Ziegfeld Follies. ed. by Arthur Frank Wertheim, (1992). 288 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Weekly Articles. Vol. 1, The Harding/Coolidge Years, 1922–1925. ed. by James M. Smallwood, (1980). 431 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Weekly Articles. Vol. 2: The Coolidge Years, 1925–1927. ed. by Steven K. Gragert, (1980). 368 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Weekly Articles. Vol. 3: The Coolidge Years, 1927–1929. ed. by Steven K. Gragert, (1981). 304 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Weekly Articles. Vol. 4: The Hoover Years, 1929–1931. ed. by Steven K. Gragert, (1981). 278 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Daily Telegrams. Vol. l, The Coolidge Years, 1926–1929. ed. by James M. Smallwood, 1978. 453 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Will Rogers' Daily Telegrams. Vol. 4, The Roosevelt Years, 1933–1935. ed. by James M. Smallwood, (1979). 457 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. Convention Articles of Will Rogers. ed. by Joseph A. Stout, 1976. 174 pp.
  • Rogers, Will. The Writings of Will Rogers. Volume 3: Illiterate Digest. ed. by Joseph A. Stout, Jr., 1974. 230 pp. online edition
  • Rogers, Will. Autobiography (1948), ed. by Donald Day; 410 pp; online edition
  • Rogers, Will. Rogers-isms: the Cowboy Philosopher on the Peace Conference, (1919). Online at Project Gutenberg
  • Sterling, Bryan B., and Frances N. Sterling, eds. Will Rogers Speaks: Over 1,000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers (And Writers, Politicians Comedians, Browsers) (1995).
  • The Papers of Will Rogers

Articles by Rogers

  • "The House That Jokes Built," Photoplay, July 1921, p. 36.
  1. Curtis, Gene (June 5, 2007). "Only in Oklahoma: Rogers statue unveiling filled U.S. Capitol". Tulsa World. RetrievedJuly 21, 2007.
  2. "RSU and Will Rogers Museum to Discuss Possible Merger" (Press release). Rogers State University. April 18, 2007. Archived from the original on November 7, 2007. RetrievedJuly 20, 2007.
  3. Schlachtenhaufen, Mark (May 31, 2007). "Will Rogers grandson carries on tradition of family service". OkInsider.com. Oklahoma Publishing Company. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. RetrievedJuly 21, 2007.
  4. Video: Man of the Year 1935: Will Rogers. Man of the Year (TV Show). 1945. RetrievedFebruary 21, 2012.
  5. Ben Yagoda (2000). Will Rogers: A Biography. pp. xiii, 190. ISBN 9780806132389.
  6. Keyes, Ralph (2006). The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-312-34004-9.
  7. 1930, in Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book (1972), pp. 166–67
  8. Yagoda, p. 8
  9. "Adventure Marked Life of Humorist". The New York Times. August 17, 1935. RetrievedJuly 20, 2007.
  10. Carter, Joseph H. and Larry Gatlin. The Quotable Will Rogers. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005:20.
  11. "Origin of County Names in Oklahoma". Oklahoma History Society's Chronicles of Oklahoma. 2:1, March 1924 (Retrieved January 18, 2009)
  12. Fred Roach, Jr., "Will Rogers’ Youthful Relationship with His Father, Clem Rogers: a Story of Love and Tension", Chronicles of Oklahoma 1980 58(3): 325–42. ISSN 0009-6024
  13. Hoots, G. 2020. Lucille Mulhall and the Mulhall Wild West Show. Series Lucille Mulhall and the Mulhall Wild West Show. in Flint Hills Special Digital Magazine [Accessed March 23, 2022]; https://flinthillsspecial.com/2020/12/04/lucille-mulhall-and-the-mulhall-wild-west-show/.
  14. "Chewing Gum and Rope in the Temple". The New York Times. October 3, 1915. p. 90.
  15. Yagoda, p. 56
  16. Will Rogers on Sam Scribner, January 1925 newspaper article, New York City
  17. Ratcliffe, Susan, ed. (2017). Oxford Essential Quotations (5 ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191843730. RetrievedMarch 15, 2021.
  18. Rogers, Will (September 30, 1923). "Slipping the Lariat Over". The New York Times.
  19. "Give A Thought To Will". The New York Times. November 13, 1922. p. 13.
  20. Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 106–07. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
  21. "Will Rogers: Weekly Articles". www.willrogers.com. Will Rogers Memorial Museums. July 1, 2012. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012.
  22. Rogers, Will (December 31, 1922). "Slipping the Lariat Over (December 31, 1922)". The New York Times.
  23. "Will Rogers: Radio Pundit". www.willrogers.com. Will Rogers Memorial Museums. March 31, 2008. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008.
  24. "Will Rogers and American Politics". Rogers State University Public TV via Youtube. 2020. RetrievedMarch 28, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. "The Jokes of Politics, D to R". medium.com. May 26, 2019. RetrievedNovember 9, 2021.
  26. Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book, (1972) p. 20.
  27. Saavedra, Scott (August 2020). "Celebrities for President". RetroFan. United States: TwoMorrows Publishing (10): 14.
  28. James E. Combs and Dan Nimmo, The Comedy of Democracy (1996) pp. 60–61
  29. Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book, (1972) p. 119.
  30. James M. Smallwood, "Will Rogers of Oklahoma: Spokesman for the 'Common Man'", Journal of the West 1988 27(2): 45–49. ISSN 0022-5169
  31. Bryson, Bill (2013), One Summer: America, 1927, Doubleday, ISBN 978-0767919401, OCLC 841198242
  32. Peter C. Rollins, "Will Rogers: Symbolic Man, Journalist, and Film Image". Journal of Popular Culture 1976 9(4): 851–77. online
  33. Peter C. Rollins, "Will Rogers, Ambassador sans Portfolio: Letters from a Self-made Diplomat to His President", Chronicles of Oklahoma 1979 57(3): 326–39. Quote from Paula McSpadden Love, The Will Rogers Book, (1972) p. 177.
  34. Southard, Bruce (1979). "Will Rogers and the Language of the Southwest: a Centennial Perspective". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 365–75.
  35. Brown, William R. (1979). "Will Rogers and His Magic Mirror". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 300–25.
  36. Roach, Fred Jr (1979). "Vision of the Future: Will Rogers' Support of Commercial Aviation". Chronicles of Oklahoma. 57 (3): 340–64.
  37. "Will Rogers' Burial". The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 19, 1936. p. 6. RetrievedMarch 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  38. Johnson, Bobby H. and R. Stanley Mohler, "Wiley Post, His Winnie Mae, and the World's First Pressure Suit"., Annals of Flight, Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1971.
  39. Sterling, Bryan and Frances (2001). Forgotten Eagle: Wiley Post: America's Heroic Aviation Pioneer. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-0894-8.
  40. "Police Dept., police explorers strolls through the streets of the U.S. Capitol, stops for visits". The Anderson Independent-Mail. July 18, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. RetrievedJuly 20, 2007.
  41. "Body of Will Rogers to be Sent Home". The Daily Tribune. May 19, 1944. p. 1. RetrievedMarch 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. "Oklahoma Memorial Union – Will Rogers Room". Union.ou.edu. RetrievedAugust 14, 2009.
  43. "Will Rogers Medallion Award". cowboypoetry.com. RetrievedJuly 3, 2012.
  44. "Will Rogers Polo Club". Archived from the original on April 29, 2009.
  45. Point of No Return: The Will Rogers-Wiley Post Memorial Seaplane Base (Renton)
  46. Raymond W. Smith (July 1983). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Will Rogers Memorial Hospital". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. RetrievedJuly 10, 2010.
  47. "Stanley Meltzoff Archives: The 1976 Bell System Telephone Book Cover" JKL Museum of Telephony (December 19, 2015); retrieved March 16, 2021
  48. "Will Rogers' 140th Birthday". Google. November 4, 2019.
  49. "The Great Ziegfeld (1936); Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. RetrievedApril 15, 2019.
  50. "You're a Sweetheart (1937); Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. RetrievedApril 15, 2019.
  51. "Look for the Silver Lining (1949); Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. RetrievedApril 15, 2019.
  52. "The Story of Will Rogers (1952) Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. RetrievedApril 15, 2019.
  53. Dennis McClellan, "James Whitmore dies at 87; veteran award-winning actor brought American icons to the screen", Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2009.
  54. "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994); Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. RetrievedApril 15, 2019.
  55. "Will Rogers: A Biography". C-SPAN. September 25, 1994. RetrievedMarch 21, 2017.
  • "Humor’s sober side: Being an interview with Will Rogers, another of a series on how humorists get that way by Josephine Van de Grift," Bisbee Daily Review, October 15, 1922, p. 4.
  • O'Brien, P. J. (1935).Will Rogers: Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom. N.P.: Winston.[ISBN missing]
  • "Claim Will Rogers Is Free To Insult Race Under Agreement". Kansas City (MO) Plaindealer, February 2, 1934, p. 2.
  • "Protest Will Rogers' Radio Speech". Pittsburgh Courier, January 27, 1934, p. 1.
  • Sterling, Bryan B., and Frances N. Sterling, eds. (1995). Will Rogers Speaks: Over 1,000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers (And Writers, Politicians Comedians, Browsers). ISBN 0871317958
  • "Will Rogers Hurls Back A Second Insult". Baltimore Afro-American, February 3, 1934, p. 1.
  • Yagoda, Ben (2000). Will Rogers: A Biography. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3238-9.

All references to Will Rogers concerned with early life and the annual celebration in or around Higgins,Texas are taken from the Texas State Historical Association.

Wikimedia Commons has media related toWill Rogers.
Wikiquote has quotations related to Will Rogers.

Will Rogers Article Talk Language Watch Edit For other uses see Will Rogers disambiguation and William Rogers disambiguation William Penn Adair Rogers November 4 1879 August 15 1935 was an American vaudeville performer actor and humorous social commentator He was born as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation in the Indian Territory now part of Oklahoma and is known as Oklahoma s Favorite Son 1 As an entertainer and humorist he traveled around the world three times made 71 films 50 silent films and 21 talkies 2 and wrote more than 4 000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns 3 By the mid 1930s Rogers was hugely popular in the United States for his leading political wit and was the highest paid of Hollywood film stars He died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post when their small airplane crashed in northern Alaska 4 Will RogersRogers in 1922Mayor of Beverly HillsIn office 1928 1928Personal detailsBornWilliam Penn Adair Rogers 1879 11 04 November 4 1879 Oologah Indian TerritoryDiedAugust 15 1935 1935 08 15 aged 55 Point Barrow Alaska Territory U S Cause of deathAirplane crashResting placeWill Rogers Memorial in Claremore OklahomaNationalityCherokee Nation United StatesPolitical partyDemocraticSpouse s Betty Blake m 1908 1935 wbr Children4 including Will Rogers Jr and James Blake RogersOccupationActor vaudevillian cowboy columnist humorist radio personality Rogers began his career as a performer on vaudeville His rope act led to success in the Ziegfeld Follies which in turn led to the first of his many movie contracts His 1920s syndicated newspaper column and his radio appearances increased his visibility and popularity Rogers crusaded for aviation expansion and provided Americans with first hand accounts of his world travels His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters prohibition politicians government programs and a host of other controversial topics in a way that found general acclaim from a national audience with no one offended 5 His aphorisms couched in humorous terms were widely quoted I am not a member of an organized political party I am a Democrat Will Rogers in the film Down to Earth from The Film Daily 1932 One of Rogers s most famous sayings was I never met a man I didn t like 6 and he even provided an epigram on this famous epigram When I die my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read I joked about every prominent man of my time but I never met a man I dident sic like I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved 7 Contents 1 Early years 1 1 First jobs 2 Career 2 1 Vaudeville 2 2 Films 2 3 Newspapers and magazines 2 4 Radio 3 Personal life 4 Politics 4 1 1928 presidential campaign 5 Philosophy and style 6 Aviation and death 7 Legacy 7 1 Oklahoma honors 7 2 Colorado memorial 7 3 California memorials 7 4 Texas memorials 7 5 Washington State memorial 7 6 National tributes 8 Film and stage portrayals 9 Filmography 9 1 Silent films 9 2 Sound films 10 References and further reading 10 1 Biographies 10 2 Scholarly studies 10 3 Books by Rogers 10 4 Articles by Rogers 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 External linksEarly years Edit The White House on the Verdigris River Will Rogers birthplace near Oologah Oklahoma Rogers was born on his parents Dog Iron Ranch in the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory near present day Oologah Oklahoma now in Rogers County named in honor of his father Clem Vann Rogers The house in which he was born had been built in 1875 and was known as the White House on the Verdigris River 2 His parents Clement Vann Rogers 1839 1911 and Mary America Schrimsher 1838 1890 were both of mixed race and Cherokee ancestry and identified as Cherokee 8 Rogers quipped that his ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower but they met the boat 9 His mother was one quarter Cherokee and born into the Paint Clan 10 She died when Will was eleven His father remarried less than two years after her death Rogers was the youngest of eight children He was named for the Cherokee leader Col William Penn Adair 11 Only three of his siblings sisters Sallie Clementine Maude Ethel and May Mary survived into adulthood His father Clement was a leader in the Cherokee Nation An attorney and Cherokee judge he was a Confederate veteran He served as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention Rogers County Oklahoma is named in honor of him 2 He served several terms in the Cherokee Senate Roach 1980 presents a sociological psychological assessment of the relationship between Will and his father during the formative boyhood and teenage years Clement had high expectations for his son and wanted him to be more responsible and business minded Will was more easygoing and oriented toward the loving affection offered by his mother Mary rather than the harshness of his father The personality clash increased after his mother s death when the boy was eleven Young Will went from one venture to another with little success Only after Will won acclaim in vaudeville did the rift begin to heal Clement s death in 1911 precluded a full reconciliation 12 Will Rogers attended school in Missouri at the Willow Hassel School at Neosho and Kemper Military School at Boonville He was a good student and an avid reader of The New York Times but he dropped out of school after the 10th grade 9 Rogers later said that he was a poor student saying that he studied the Fourth Reader for ten years He was much more interested in cowboys and horses and learned to rope and use a lariat 9 First jobs Edit In 1899 Rogers appeared in the St Louis Fair as part of the Mulhall Rodeo 13 Near the end of 1901 when he was 22 years old he and a friend left home hoping to work as gauchos in Argentina 9 They arrived in Argentina in May 1902 and spent five months trying to make it as ranch owners in the Pampas Rogers and his partner lost all their money and he later said I was ashamed to send home for more The two friends separated and Rogers sailed for South Africa It is often claimed he took a job breaking in horses for the British Army but the Boer War had ended three months earlier 14 Rogers was hired at James Piccione s ranch near Mooi River Station in the Pietermaritzburg district of Natal 15 Career EditRogers began his show business career as a trick roper in Texas Jack s Wild West Circus in South Africa He Texas Jack had a little Wild West aggregation that visited the camps and did a tremendous business I did some roping and riding and Jack who was one of the smartest showmen I ever knew took a great interest in me It was he who gave me the idea for my original stage act with my pony I learned a lot about the show business from him He could do a bum act with a rope that an ordinary man couldn t get away with and make the audience think it was great so I used to study him by the hour and from him I learned the great secret of the show business knowing when to get off It s the fellow who knows when to quit that the audience wants more of 14 Grateful for the guidance but anxious to move on Rogers quit the circus and went to Australia Texas Jack gave him a reference letter for the Wirth Brothers Circus there and Rogers continued to perform as a rider and trick roper and worked on his pony act He returned to the United States in 1904 appeared at the Saint Louis World s Fair and began to try his roping skills on the vaudeville circuits Vaudeville Edit Rogers sometime before 1900 On a trip to New York City Rogers was at Madison Square Garden on April 27 1905 when a wild steer broke out of the arena and began to climb into the viewing stands Rogers roped the steer to the delight of the crowd The feat got front page attention from the newspapers giving him valuable publicity and an audience eager to see more Willie Hammerstein saw his vaudeville act and signed Rogers to appear on the Victoria Roof which was literally on a rooftop with his pony For the next decade Rogers estimated he worked for 50 weeks a year at the Roof and at the city s myriad vaudeville theaters 14 Rogers later recalled these early years I got a job on Hammerstein s Roof at 140 a week for myself my horse and the man who looked after it I remained on the roof for eight weeks always getting another two week extension when Willie Hammerstein would say to me after the Monday matinee you re good for two weeks more Marty Shea the booking agent for the Columbia came to me and asked if I wanted to play burlesque They could use an extra attraction I told him I would think about it but Burlesque sounded to me then as something funny Shea and Sam A Scribner the general manager of the Columbia Amusement Company approached Rogers a few days later Shea told Scribner Rogers was getting 150 and would take 175 What s he carrying Scribner asked Shea Himself a horse and a man answered Shea Scribner replied Give him eight weeks at 250 16 In the fall of 1915 Rogers began to appear in Florenz Ziegfeld s Midnight Frolic The variety revue began at midnight in the top floor night club of Ziegfeld s New Amsterdam Theatre and drew many influential and regular customers By this time Rogers had refined his act His monologues on the news of the day followed a similar routine every night He appeared on stage in his cowboy outfit nonchalantly twirling his lasso and said Well what shall I talk about I ain t got anything funny to say All I know is what I read in the papers He would make jokes about what he had read in that day s newspapers The line All I know is what I read in the papers is often incorrectly described as Rogers s most famous punch line when it was his opening line 17 18 His run at the New Amsterdam ran into 1916 and Rogers s growing popularity led to an engagement on the more famous Ziegfeld Follies At this stage Rogers s act was strictly physical a silent display of daring riding and clever tricks with his lariat He discovered that audiences identified the cowboy as the archetypical American doubtless aided by Theodore Roosevelt s image as a cowboy Rogers s cowboy was an unfettered man free of institutional restraints with no bureaucrats to order his life When he came back to the United States and worked in Wild West shows he slowly began adding the occasional spoken ad lib such as Swingin a rope s all right if your neck ain t in it Audiences responded to his laconic but pointed humor and were just as fascinated by his frontier Oklahoma twang By 1916 Rogers was a featured star in Ziegfeld s Follies on Broadway as he moved into satire by transforming the Ropin Fool to the Talkin Fool At one performance with President Woodrow Wilson in the audience Rogers improvised a roast of presidential policies that had Wilson and the entire audience in stitches and proved his remarkable skill at off the cuff witty commentary on current events He built the rest of his career around that skill A 1922 editorial in The New York Times said that Will Rogers in the Follies is carrying on the tradition of Aristophanes and not unworthily 19 Rogers branched into silent films too for Samuel Goldwyn s company Goldwyn Pictures He made his first silent movie Laughing Bill Hyde 1918 which was filmed in Fort Lee New Jersey Many early films were filmed and produced in the New York area in those years Rogers could make a film yet easily still rehearse and perform in the Follies He eventually appeared in most of the Follies from 1916 to 1925 Films Edit This section needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed August 2017 Learn how and when to remove this template message Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918 as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in Laughing Bill Hyde A three year contract with Goldwyn at triple the Broadway salary moved Rogers west He bought a ranch in Pacific Palisades and set up his own production company While Rogers enjoyed film acting his appearances in silent movies suffered from the obvious restrictions of silence as he had gained his fame as a commentator on stage He wrote many of the title cards appearing in his films In 1923 he began a one year stint for Hal Roach and made 12 pictures Among the films he made for Roach in 1924 were three directed by Rob Wagner Two Wagons Both Covered Going to Congress and Our Congressman He made two other feature silents and a travelogue series in 1927 After that he did not return to the screen until beginning work in the talkies in 1929 Rogers made 48 silent movies but with the arrival of sound in 1929 he became a top star in that medium His first sound film They Had to See Paris 1929 gave him the chance to exercise his verbal wit He played a homespun farmer State Fair in 1933 an old fashioned doctor Dr Bull in 1933 a small town banker David Harum in 1934 and a rustic politician Judge Priest in 1934 He was also in County Chairman 1935 Steamboat Round the Bend 1935 and In Old Kentucky 1935 His favorite director was John Ford Rogers appeared in 21 feature films alongside such noted performers as Lew Ayres Billie Burke Richard Cromwell Jane Darwell Andy Devine Janet Gaynor Rochelle Hudson Boris Karloff Myrna Loy Joel McCrea Hattie McDaniel Ray Milland Maureen O Sullivan ZaSu Pitts Dick Powell Bill Bojangles Robinson Mickey Rooney and Peggy Wood He was directed three times by John Ford He appeared in four films with his friend Stepin Fetchit aka Lincoln T Perry David Harum 1934 Judge Priest 1934 Steamboat Round the Bend 1935 and The County Chairman 1935 20 With his voice becoming increasingly familiar to audiences Rogers essentially played himself in each film without film makeup managing to ad lib and sometimes work in his familiar commentaries on politics The clean moral tone of his films resulted in various public schools taking their classes to attend special showings during the school day His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur s Court His popularity soared to new heights with films including Young As You Feel Judge Priest and Life Begins at 40 with Richard Cromwell and Rochelle Hudson Newspapers and magazines Edit Rogers was an indefatigable worker He toured the lecture circuit The New York Times syndicated his weekly newspaper column from 1922 to 1935 21 Going daily in 1926 his short column Will Rogers Says reached 40 million newspaper readers He also wrote frequently for the mass circulation upscale magazine The Saturday Evening Post Rogers advised Americans to embrace the frontier values of neighborliness and democracy on the domestic front while remaining clear of foreign entanglements He took a strong highly popular stand in favor of aviation including a military air force of the sort his flying buddy General Billy Mitchell advocated Rogers began a weekly column titled Slipping the Lariat Over at the end of 1922 22 He had already published a book of wisecracks and had begun a steady stream of humor books 9 Through the columns for the McNaught Syndicate between 1922 and 1935 as well as his personal appearances and radio broadcasts he won the loving admiration of the American people poking jibes in witty ways at the issues of the day and prominent people often politicians He wrote from a nonpartisan point of view and became a friend of presidents and a confidant of the great Loved for his cool mind and warm heart he was often considered the successor to such greats as Artemus Ward and Mark Twain Rogers was not the first entertainer to use political humor before his audience Others such as Broadway comedian Raymond Hitchcock and Britain s Sir Harry Lauder preceded him by several years Bob Hope is the best known political humorist to follow Rogers s example Radio Edit Radio was the exciting new medium and Rogers became a star there as well broadcasting his newspaper pieces From 1929 to 1935 he made radio broadcasts for the Gulf Oil Company This weekly Sunday evening show The Gulf Headliners ranked among the top radio programs in the country 23 Since Rogers easily rambled from one subject to another reacting to his studio audience he often lost track of the half hour time limit in his earliest broadcasts and was cut off in mid sentence To correct this he brought in a wind up alarm clock and its on air buzzing alerted him to begin wrapping up his comments By 1935 his show was being announced as Will Rogers and his Famous Alarm Clock Personal life Edit Photograph by Underwood amp Underwood unknown date In 1908 Rogers married Betty Blake 1879 1944 and the couple had four children Will Rogers Jr Mary Amelia James Blake and Fred Stone Will Jr became a World War II hero played his father in two films and was elected to Congress Mary became a Broadway actress and James Jim was a newspaperman and rancher Fred died of diphtheria at age two 3 The family lived in New York but they spent summers in Oklahoma In 1911 Rogers bought a 20 acre 8 1 ha ranch near Claremore Oklahoma which he intended to use as his retirement home He paid US 500 an acre equal to 14 541 per acre today 3 From about 1925 to 1928 Rogers traveled the length and breadth of the United States in a lecture tour He began his lectures by pointing out that A humorist entertains and a lecturer annoys During this time he became the first civilian to fly from coast to coast with pilots flying the mail in early air mail flights The National Press Club dubbed him Ambassador at Large of the United States He visited Mexico City along with Charles Lindbergh as a guest of U S Ambassador Dwight Morrow Rogers gave numerous after dinner speeches became a popular convention speaker and gave dozens of benefits for victims of floods droughts or earthquakes Rogers traveled to Asia to perform in 1931 and to Central and South America the following year In 1934 he made a globe girdling tour and returned to play the lead in Eugene O Neill s stage play Ah Wilderness He had tentatively agreed to go on loan from Fox to MGM to star in the 1935 movie version of the play But concerned about a fan s reaction to the facts of life talk between his character and the latter s son he declined the role He and Wiley Post made plans to fly to Alaska that summer Politics Edit Rogers right with Seattle Mayor Charles L Smith about 1935 Rogers was a Democrat but has historically been known as apolitical He was friends with every president starting with Theodore Roosevelt 24 and he notably supported Republican Calvin Coolidge over John W Davis in 1924 During the Republican Convention of 1928 while criticizing the party platform Rogers welcomed the nomination of Kaw citizen Charles Curtis as vice president although he felt the leadership had deliberately kept him from the presidency The Republican Party owed him something but I didn t think they would be so low down as to pay him that way Four years later when the Republican leadership attempted to remove the more conservative Curtis from the Hoover ticket Rogers defended him and took credit with keeping him on the ticket I saved my Injun Charley Curtis for vice presidency The rascals was just ready to stab him when we caught em 25 In 1932 Rogers supported Democrat Franklin D Roosevelt who was his favorite president and politician Although he supported Roosevelt s New Deal he could just as easily joke about it Lord the money we do spend on Government and it s not one bit better than the government we got for one third the money twenty years ago 26 Rogers served as a goodwill ambassador to Mexico and had a brief stint as mayor of Beverly Hills a largely ceremonial position that allowed Rogers to joke about do nothing politicians such as himself During the depths of the Great Depression angered by Washington s inability to feed the people he embarked on a cross country fundraising tour for the Red Cross 1928 presidential campaign Edit Rogers thought all campaigning was bunk To prove the point he mounted a mock campaign in 1928 for the presidency His only vehicle was the pages of Life a weekly humor magazine The campaign was in large part an effort to boost circulation for the struggling magazine 27 Rogers ran as the bunkless candidate of the Anti Bunk Party His campaign promise was that if elected he would resign Every week from Memorial Day through Election Day Rogers caricatured the farcical humors of grave campaign politics On election day he declared victory and resigned he did not actually receive any state electoral votes Asked what issues would motivate voters Prohibition What s on your hip is bound to be on your mind July 26 Asked if there should be presidential debates Yes Joint debate in any joint you name August 9 How about appeals to the common man Easy You can t make any commoner appeal than I can August 16 What does the farmer need Obvious He needs a punch in the jaw if he believes that either of the parties cares a damn about him after the election August 23 Can voters be fooled Darn tootin Of all the bunk handed out during a campaign the biggest one of all is to try and compliment the knowledge of the voter September 21 What about a candidate s image Ballyhoo I hope there is some sane people who will appreciate dignity and not showmanship in their choice for the presidency October 5 What of ugly campaign rumors Don t worry The things they whisper aren t as bad as what they say out loud October 12 28 Philosophy and style EditAfter Rogers gained recognition as a humorist philosopher in vaudeville he gained a national audience in acting and literary careers from 1915 to 1935 In these years Rogers increasingly expressed the views of the common man in America He downplayed academic credentials noting Everybody is ignorant only on different subjects 29 Americans of all walks admired his individualism his appreciation for democratic ideas and his liberal philosophies on most issues Moreover Rogers extolled hard work in order to succeed and such expressions affirmed American theories about how to realize individual success Rogers symbolized the self made man the common man who believed in America in progress and in the American Dream of upward mobility His humor never offended even those who were the targets of it 30 In the 1920s the United States was happy and prosperous in various ways 31 leading to the nickname Roaring Twenties but it also suffered from rapid change and social tensions Some people were disenchanted by and alienated from the outside world 31 Many common people believed that World War I had resulted in extensive and largely senseless carnage and they supported isolationism for the US According to scholar Peter Rollins 1976 Rogers appeared to be an anchor of stability his conventional home life and traditional moral code reminded people of a recent past His newspaper column which ran from 1922 to 1935 expressed his traditional morality and his belief that political problems were not as serious as they sounded In his films Rogers began by playing a simple cowboy his characters evolved to explore the meaning of innocence in ordinary life In his last movies Rogers explores a society fracturing into competing classes from economic pressures Throughout his career Rogers was a link to a better more comprehensible past 32 In 1926 the high circulation weekly magazine The Saturday Evening Post financed a European tour for Rogers in return for publication of his articles Rogers made whirlwind visits to numerous European capitals and met with both international figures and common people His articles reflected a fear that Europeans would go to war again He recommended isolationism for the United States He reasoned that for the moment American needs could best be served by concentrating on domestic questions and avoiding foreign entanglements He commented America has a unique record We never lost a war and we never won a conference in our lives I believe that we could without any degree of egotism single handed lick any nation in the world But we can t confer with Costa Rica and come home with our shirts on 33 Rogers was famous for his use of language He effectively used up to date slang and invented new words to fit his needs He also made frequent use of puns and terms which closely linked him to the cowboy tradition as well as speech patterns using a southern dialect 34 Brown 1979 argues that Rogers held up a magic mirror that reflected iconic American values Rogers was the archetypical American Democrat thanks to his knack of moving freely among all social classes his stance above political parties and his passion for fair play He represented the American Adam with his independence and self made record Rogers furthermore represented the American Prometheus through his commitment to utilitarian methods and his ever optimistic faith in future progress 35 Aviation and death Edit Rogers on the wing of a Lockheed floatplane an amphibian or flying boat belonging to famed aviation pioneer Wiley Post hours before their fatal crash on August 15 1935 Will Rogers became an advocate for the aviation industry after noticing advancements in Europe and befriending Charles Lindbergh the most famous American aviator of the era During his 1926 European trip Rogers witnessed the European advances in commercial air service and compared them to the almost nonexistent facilities in the United States Rogers newspaper columns frequently emphasized the safety record speed and convenience of this means of transportation and he helped shape public opinion on the subject 36 In 1935 the famed aviator Wiley Post an Oklahoman became interested in surveying a mail and passenger air route from the West Coast to Russia He attached a Lockheed Explorer wing to a Lockheed Orion fuselage fitting floats for landing in the lakes of Alaska and Siberia Rogers visited Post often at the airport in Burbank California while he was modifying the aircraft He asked Post to fly him through Alaska in search of new material for his newspaper column After making a test flight in July Post and Rogers left Lake Washington in Renton in the Lockheed Orion Explorer in early August and then made several stops in Alaska While Post piloted the aircraft Rogers wrote his columns on his typewriter Before they left Fairbanks they signed and mailed a burgee a distinguishing flag belonging to the South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club The signed burgee is on display at South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club in Marina del Rey California On August 15 they left Fairbanks for Point Barrow About 20 miles southwest of Point Barrow having difficulty figuring their position due to bad weather they landed in a lagoon to ask directions On takeoff the engine failed at low altitude and the aircraft plunged into the lagoon shearing off the right wing and ended up inverted in the shallow water of the lagoon Both men died instantly Rogers was buried August 21 1935 in Forest Lawn Park in Glendale California 37 it was a temporary interment He was reinterred at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore Oklahoma Experts have studied the factors in the accident and still disagree about it Bobby H Johnson and R Stanley Mohler argued in a 1971 article that Post had ordered floats that did not reach Seattle in time for the planned trip He used a set that was designed for a larger type of plane making the already nose heavy hybrid aircraft even more nose heavy 38 But Bryan and Frances Sterling maintain in their 2001 book Forgotten Eagle Wiley Post America s Heroic Aviation Pioneer that their research showed the floats were the correct type for the aircraft 39 thereby suggesting another cause for the crash Legacy Edit Will Rogers s tomb from the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore Oklahoma Stained glass window at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore Oklahoma depicting the many and diverse roles Rogers filled in his life In 1962 the town of Higgins Texas near a ranch where Rogers had worked in 1922 began an annual observance of Will Rogers Day in honor of the cowboy philosopher who remained a close friend of Frank Ewing the son of his old employer Oklahoma honors Edit Before his death the state of Oklahoma commissioned a statue of Rogers to be displayed as one of the two it has in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the United States Capitol Rogers agreed on the condition that his image would be placed facing the House Chamber supposedly so he could keep an eye on Congress Of the statues in this part of the Capitol the Rogers sculpture is the only one facing the Chamber entrance a stakeout location for camera crews looking to catch House members during and after voting It is also a common background for reporters and lawmakers with staff often directing the media to be at the Will Rogers stakeout at a certain time According to some Capitol guides each U S president rubs the left shoe of the Rogers statue for good luck before entering the House Chamber to give the State of the Union address 40 A state appropriation paid for the work It was sculpted in clay by Jo Davidson He had been a close friend of Rogers Davidson had the work cast in bronze in Brussels Belgium Dedicated on June 6 1939 before a crowd of more than 2 000 people the statue faces the floor entrance of the House of Representatives Chamber next to National Statuary Hall The Architect of the Capitol David Lynn said there had never been such a large ceremony or crowd in the Capitol 1 His birthplace of the Dog Iron Ranch is located two miles east of Oologah Oklahoma When the Verdigris River valley was flooded to create Oologah Lake as part of a major dam project the Rogers house was preserved by being moved about mile 1 2 km to its present location overlooking the original site The family tomb is at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum constructed in nearby Claremore on the site purchased by Rogers in 1911 for his retirement home On May 19 1944 41 Rogers s body was moved from a holding vault in Glendale California 41 to the tomb After his wife Betty died later that year she was also interred there A casting of the Davidson sculpture that stands in National Statuary Hall paid for by Davidson was installed at the museum Both the birthplace and the museum are open to the public WPA poster 1941 Many landmarks were named in Rogers honor Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City where a recent expansion and renovation included the installation of a statue of Rogers on horseback in front of the terminal The Will Rogers Turnpike is the section of Interstate 44 between Tulsa and Joplin Missouri Near Vinita Oklahoma a statue of Rogers was installed at the service plaza that spans the interstate Thirteen public schools in Oklahoma have been named for Rogers including Will Rogers High School in Tulsa The University of Oklahoma named the large Will Rogers Room in the student union for him 42 The Boy Scouts of America honored him with the Will Rogers Council and the Will Rogers Scout Reservation near Cleveland In 1947 a college football bowl game was named in his honor but the event folded after the first year The Academy of Western Artists based in Gene Autry Oklahoma presents an annual Will Rogers Medallion award for excellence in western literature 43 Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore Oklahoma 2021091100008 Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore Oklahoma 2021091100011 Colorado memorial Edit The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun is the name of an 80 foot observation tower on Cheyenne Mountain west of Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak near the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo California memorials Edit Rogers star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6401 Hollywood Blvd Rogers s California home stables and polo fields are preserved today for public enjoyment as Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades His widow Betty willed the property to the state of California upon her death in 1944 under the condition that polo be played on the field every year it is home to the Will Rogers Polo Club 44 Will Rogers Monument at the western terminus of Route 66 Several schools have been named for him Will Rogers Elementary School in Santa Monica Will Rogers Elementary School in Ventura middle schools in Long Beach and in Fair Oaks Will Rogers Memorial Park a small park at Sunset Boulevard and Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills was named after him as is Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades U S Route 66 is known as the Will Rogers Highway a plaque dedicating the highway to the humorist is located at the western terminus of Route 66 in Santa Monica The California Theatre in San Bernardino is the site of the humorist s final show He always performed in front of a special jewelled curtains and had two of them While he was using one he would send the other to the site of his next performance The curtain used in his final show was retained by the California Theatre Two memorial murals by Kent Twitchell were installed on the exterior of the fly loft The California Theatre named one of its reception spaces as the Will Rogers Room Texas memorials Edit The Will Rogers Memorial Center was built in Fort Worth Texas in 1936 It includes a mural a bust and a life size statue of Will Rogers on Soapsuds titled Into the Sunset and sculpted by Electra Waggoner Biggs Into the Sunset depicting Rogers riding his horse Soapsuds on the campus of Texas Tech University A casting of Into the Sunset stands at the entrance to the main campus quad at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas This memorial was dedicated on February 16 1950 by Rogers longtime friend Amon G Carter Another casting is held at the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore Oklahoma Washington State memorial Edit A small monument at the Renton airport commemorates the starting point of the fatal 1935 Post Rogers flight 45 National tributes Edit US Post Office stamp 1948 In 1936 the NVA Hospital located in Saranac Lake New York was renamed as the Will Rogers Memorial Hospital by the National Vaudeville Artists association 46 On November 4 1948 the United States Post Office commemorated Rogers with a three cent postage stamp In 1979 it issued a United States Postal Service 15 cent stamp of him as part of the Performing Arts series In 1976 Rogers was among the historical figures depicted in the artwork Our Nation s 200th Birthday The Telephone s 100th Birthday by Stanley Meltzoff for Bell System 47 The Barrow Alaska airport BRW located about 16 miles 26 km from the location of the fatal airplane crash is known as the Wiley Post Will Rogers Memorial Airport The Rogers Post Site overlooking the lagoon where the plane crashed has two or possibly one remaining monuments It is on the National Register of Historic Places A plaque to Rogers and Post was also erected in Barrow The World War II Liberty Ship SS Will Rogers was named in his honor The final ship of the Benjamin Franklin class submarines USS Will Rogers SSBN 659 was launched in 1966 and commissioned the following year On November 4 2019 Google celebrated his 140th birthday with a Google Doodle 48 Film and stage portrayals EditRogers was portrayed by A A Trimble in cameos in both the 1936 film The Great Ziegfeld 49 and the 1937 film You re a Sweetheart 50 Rogers was portrayed by his son Will Rogers Jr in a cameo in the 1949 film Look for the Silver Lining 51 and as the star of the 1952 film The Story of Will Rogers 52 James Whitmore portrayed Rogers in eight runs of the one man play Will Rogers USA between 1970 and 2000 including a limited run on Broadway in 1974 and as a television film in 1972 Whitmore changed the monologue each time he performed it using quotations from Rogers as commentary on events current at the time of the performance 53 The Tony Award winning musical The Will Rogers Follies produced on Broadway in 1991 starred Keith Carradine in the lead role Carradine also played Rogers in the 1994 film Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle 54 Filmography EditSilent films Edit Laughing Bill Hyde 1918 film debut Bill Hyde Almost a Husband 1919 Sam Lyman Jubilo 1919 Jubilo Water Water Everywhere 1919 Billy Fortune The Strange Boarder 1920 Sam Gardner Jes Call Me Jim 1920 Jim Fenton Cupid the Cowpuncher 1920 Alec Lloyd Honest Hutch 1920 Hutch Guile of Women 1920 Hjalmar Maartens The Illiterate Digest 1920 Boys Will Be Boys 1921 Peep O Day An Unwilling Hero 1921 Dick Doubling for Romeo 1921 Sam Cody Romeo A Poor Relation 1921 Noah Vale One Glorious Day 1922 Professor Ezra Botts The Ropin Fool 1922 Short Ropes Reilly the ropin fool The Headless Horseman 1922 Ichabod Crane Fruits of Faith 1922 Short Larry One Day in 365 1922 unreleased Hollywood 1923 Himself Jus Passin Through 1923 Short Jubilo Hustling Hank 1923 Short Hank Uncensored Movies 1923 Short Lem Skagwillow Two Wagons Both Covered 1923 Short Bill Bunian Joe Jackson The Cowboy Sheik 1924 Short Two Straw Bill The Cake Eater 1924 Short High Brow Stuff 1924 Short Going to Congress 1924 Short Alfalfa Doolittle Don t Park There 1924 Short Big Moments From Little Pictures 1924 Short Himself Rufus the bullfighter Robin Hood Son Police Chief Jubilo Jr 1924 Short part of the Our Gang series Himself Our Congressman 1924 Short Alfalfa Doolittle A Truthful Liar 1924 Short Ambassador Alfalfa Doolittle Gee Whiz Genevieve 1924 Short Tip Toes 1927 Uncle Hen Kaye A Texas Steer 1927 Cattle Brander Travelog Series In Dublin 1927 Short Himself In Paris 1927 Short Himself Hiking Through Holland 1927 Short Himself Hunting For Germans In Berlin 1927 Short Himself Through Switzerland And Bavaria 1927 Short Himself In London 1927 Short Himself Roaming The Emerald Isle 1927 Short Himself Prowling Around France 1927 Short Himself Winging Round Europe 1927 Short Himself Exploring England 1927 Short Himself Reeling Down The Rhine 1927 Short Himself Over The Bounding Blue 1928 Short Himself Sound films Edit Happy Days 1929 Minstrel Show Performer They Had to See Paris 1929 Pike Peters So This Is London 1930 Hiram Draper Lightnin 1930 Lightnin Bill Jones A Connecticut Yankee 1931 Hank Martin Young as You Feel 1930 Lemuel Morehouse Ambassador Bill 1931 Bill Harper Business and Pleasure 1932 Earl Tinker Down to Earth 1932 Pike Peters Too Busy to Work 1932 Jubilo State Fair 1933 Abel Frake Doctor Bull 1933 Dr George Doc Bull Mr Skitch 1933 Mr Ira Skitch David Harum 1934 David Harum Handy Andy 1934 Andrew Yates Judge Priest 1934 Judge Priest The County Chairman 1935 Jim Hackler Life Begins at 40 1935 Kenesaw H Clark Doubting Thomas 1935 Thomas Brown Steamboat Round the Bend 1935 Doctor John Pearly In Old Kentucky 1935 Steve Tapley final film role References and further reading EditBiographies Edit External video Booknotes interview with Ben Yagoda on Will Rogers A Biography September 25 1994 C SPAN 55 Carnes Mark C Will Rogers and His America 2010 Ketchum Richard M Will Rogers His Life and Times 1973 O Brien P J 1935 Will Rogers Ambassador of Good Will Prince of Wit and Wisdom online edition Robinson Ray 1996 American Original A Life of Will Rogers 288 pp online edition Rogers Betty 1941 Will Rogers His Story As Told By His Wife 312 pp Rollins Peter C 1984 Will Rogers A Bio Bibliography Greenwood 282 pp Sterling Bryan B and Frances N Sterling 1989 Will Rogers World Yagoda Ben 1993 Will Rogers A Biography excerpt and text searchScholarly studies Edit Brown William R 1979 Will Rogers and His Magic Mirror Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 300 25 Coleman Timothy S All We Know of Nation Is What We See in the Pictures Will Rogers and the National Imaginary in 1920s and 1930s America PhD dissertation Wayne State U 2003 183 pp DAI 2004 64 12 4245 A DA3116488 Fulltext ProQuest Dissertations amp Theses Jenkins Ronald Scott Representative Clowns Comedy and Democracy in America PhD dissertation Harvard U 1984 208 pp DAI 1984 45 4 1187 A DA8416931 Fulltext ProQuest Dissertations amp Theses Johnson Bobby H and R Stanley Mohler Wiley Post His Winnie Mae and the World s First Pressure Suit Washington Smithsonian Institution 1971 Roach Fred Jr Will Rogers Youthful Relationship with His Father Clem Rogers a Story of Love and Tension Chronicles of Oklahoma 1980 58 3 325 42 ISSN 0009 6024 Roach Fred Jr 1979 Vision of the Future Will Rogers Support of Commercial Aviation Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 340 64 Rollins Peter C Will Rogers Symbolic Man Journalist and Film Image Journal of Popular Culture 1976 9 4 851 77 Rollins Peter C 1979 Will Rogers Ambassador sans Portfolio Letters from a Self made Diplomat to His President Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 326 39 Smallwood James M 1988 Will Rogers of Oklahoma Spokesman for the Common Man Journal of the West 27 2 45 49 Southard Bruce 1979 Will Rogers and the Language of the Southwest a Centennial Perspective Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 365 75 Ware Amy 2009 Unexpected Cowboy Unexpected Indian The Case of Will Rogers Ethnohistory 56 1 1 34 doi 10 1215 00141801 2008 034 Books by Rogers Edit Rogers Will 1975 1924 Joseph A Stout Jr ed Rogers isms The Cowboy Philosopher On Prohibition Stillwater Oklahoma State University Press ISBN 0 914956 06 X Rogers Will 2003 1924 Illiterate Digest Kessinger Publishing ISBN 978 0 7661 4321 0 Rogers Will 1977 1926 Joseph A Stout ed Letters of a Self Made Diplomat To His President Stillwater Oklahoma State University Press ISBN 0 914956 09 4 Rogers Will 1982 Steven K Gragert ed More letters of a self made diplomat Stillwater Oklahoma State University Press ISBN 978 0 914956 22 8 Rogers Will 1927 There s Not A Bathing Suit in Russia Rogers Will 1982 1928 He chews to run Will Rogers Life magazine articles 1928 Stillwater Oklahoma State University Press ISBN 0 914956 20 5 Rogers Will 1983 Steven K Gragert ed Radio Broadcasts of Will Rogers Stillwater Oklahoma State University Press ISBN 0 914956 24 8 Sterling Bryan and Frances 2001 Forgotten Eagle Wiley Post America s Heroic Aviation Pioneer New York Carroll amp Graf Publishers ISBN 0 7867 0894 8 Rogers Will 1926 Letters of a Self Made Diplomat to His President online edition Rogers Will and Joseph H Carter Never Met a Man I Didn t Like 1991 excerpt and text search Rogers Will Will Rogers at the Ziegfeld Follies ed by Arthur Frank Wertheim 1992 288 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Weekly Articles Vol 1 The Harding Coolidge Years 1922 1925 ed by James M Smallwood 1980 431 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Weekly Articles Vol 2 The Coolidge Years 1925 1927 ed by Steven K Gragert 1980 368 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Weekly Articles Vol 3 The Coolidge Years 1927 1929 ed by Steven K Gragert 1981 304 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Weekly Articles Vol 4 The Hoover Years 1929 1931 ed by Steven K Gragert 1981 278 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Daily Telegrams Vol l The Coolidge Years 1926 1929 ed by James M Smallwood 1978 453 pp Rogers Will Will Rogers Daily Telegrams Vol 4 The Roosevelt Years 1933 1935 ed by James M Smallwood 1979 457 pp Rogers Will Convention Articles of Will Rogers ed by Joseph A Stout 1976 174 pp Rogers Will The Writings of Will Rogers Volume 3 Illiterate Digest ed by Joseph A Stout Jr 1974 230 pp online edition Rogers Will Autobiography 1948 ed by Donald Day 410 pp online edition Rogers Will Rogers isms the Cowboy Philosopher on the Peace Conference 1919 Online at Project Gutenberg Sterling Bryan B and Frances N Sterling eds Will Rogers Speaks Over 1 000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers And Writers Politicians Comedians Browsers 1995 The Papers of Will Rogers Rogers Will 1996 Steven K Gragert and M Jane Johansson ed The Papers of Will Rogers The Early Years November 1879 April 1904 Norman University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 2745 3 Rogers Will 2000 Steven K Gragert M Jane Johansson eds Papers of Will Rogers Wild West and Vaudeville April 1904 September 1908 Volume Two Norman University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 3267 9 Rogers Will 2005 Steven K Gragert M Jane Johansson eds The Papers of Will Rogers From Broadway to the National Stage September 1915 July 1928 Norman University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 3704 9 Rogers Will 2005 Steven K Gragert M Jane Johansson eds The Papers of Will Rogers From Broadway to the National Stage September 1915 July 1928 Norman Oklahoma University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 3704 9 Rogers Will 2006 Steven K Gragert M Jane Johansson eds The Papers of Will Rogers The Final Years August 1928 August 1935 Norman University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 3768 1 Articles by Rogers Edit The House That Jokes Built Photoplay July 1921 p 36 See also Edit Biography portal Will Rogers phenomenon Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun Will Rogers Memorial Will Rogers Memorial Park List of people on the cover of Time Magazine 1920s July 19 1926 The Will Rogers FolliesNotes Edit a b Curtis Gene June 5 2007 Only in Oklahoma Rogers statue unveiling filled U S Capitol Tulsa World Retrieved July 21 2007 a b c RSU and Will Rogers Museum to Discuss Possible Merger Press release Rogers State University April 18 2007 Archived from the original on November 7 2007 Retrieved July 20 2007 a b c Schlachtenhaufen Mark May 31 2007 Will Rogers grandson carries on tradition of family service OkInsider com Oklahoma Publishing Company Archived from the original on September 28 2007 Retrieved July 21 2007 Video Man of the Year 1935 Will Rogers Man of the Year TV Show 1945 Retrieved February 21 2012 Ben Yagoda 2000 Will Rogers A Biography pp xiii 190 ISBN 9780806132389 Keyes Ralph 2006 The Quote Verifier Who Said What Where and When New York St Martin s Press p 125 ISBN 978 0 312 34004 9 1930 in Paula McSpadden Love The Will Rogers Book 1972 pp 166 67 Yagoda p 8 a b c d e Adventure Marked Life of Humorist The New York Times August 17 1935 Retrieved July 20 2007 Carter Joseph H and Larry Gatlin The Quotable Will Rogers Layton Utah Gibbs Smith Publisher 2005 20 Origin of County Names in Oklahoma Oklahoma History Society s Chronicles of Oklahoma 2 1 March 1924 Retrieved January 18 2009 Fred Roach Jr Will Rogers Youthful Relationship with His Father Clem Rogers a Story of Love and Tension Chronicles of Oklahoma 1980 58 3 325 42 ISSN 0009 6024 Hoots G 2020 Lucille Mulhall and the Mulhall Wild West Show Series Lucille Mulhall and the Mulhall Wild West Show in Flint Hills Special Digital Magazine Accessed March 23 2022 https flinthillsspecial com 2020 12 04 lucille mulhall and the mulhall wild west show a b c Chewing Gum and Rope in the Temple The New York Times October 3 1915 p 90 Yagoda p 56 Will Rogers on Sam Scribner January 1925 newspaper article New York City Ratcliffe Susan ed 2017 Oxford Essential Quotations 5 ed Oxford University Press ISBN 9780191843730 Retrieved March 15 2021 Rogers Will September 30 1923 Slipping the Lariat Over The New York Times Give A Thought To Will The New York Times November 13 1922 p 13 Lamparski Richard 1982 Whatever Became Of Eighth Series New York Crown Publishers pp 106 07 ISBN 0 517 54855 0 Will Rogers Weekly Articles www willrogers com Will Rogers Memorial Museums July 1 2012 Archived from the original on July 1 2012 Rogers Will December 31 1922 Slipping the Lariat Over December 31 1922 The New York Times Will Rogers Radio Pundit www willrogers com Will Rogers Memorial Museums March 31 2008 Archived from the original on October 15 2008 Will Rogers and American Politics Rogers State University Public TV via Youtube 2020 Retrieved March 28 2022 a href wiki Template Cite web title Template Cite web cite web a CS1 maint url status link The Jokes of Politics D to R medium com May 26 2019 Retrieved November 9 2021 Paula McSpadden Love The Will Rogers Book 1972 p 20 Saavedra Scott August 2020 Celebrities for President RetroFan United States TwoMorrows Publishing 10 14 James E Combs and Dan Nimmo The Comedy of Democracy 1996 pp 60 61 Paula McSpadden Love The Will Rogers Book 1972 p 119 James M Smallwood Will Rogers of Oklahoma Spokesman for the Common Man Journal of the West 1988 27 2 45 49 ISSN 0022 5169 a b Bryson Bill 2013 One Summer America 1927 Doubleday ISBN 978 0767919401 OCLC 841198242 Peter C Rollins Will Rogers Symbolic Man Journalist and Film Image Journal of Popular Culture 1976 9 4 851 77 online Peter C Rollins Will Rogers Ambassador sans Portfolio Letters from a Self made Diplomat to His President Chronicles of Oklahoma 1979 57 3 326 39 Quote from Paula McSpadden Love The Will Rogers Book 1972 p 177 Southard Bruce 1979 Will Rogers and the Language of the Southwest a Centennial Perspective Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 365 75 Brown William R 1979 Will Rogers and His Magic Mirror Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 300 25 Roach Fred Jr 1979 Vision of the Future Will Rogers Support of Commercial Aviation Chronicles of Oklahoma 57 3 340 64 Will Rogers Burial The Philadelphia Inquirer September 19 1936 p 6 Retrieved March 8 2017 via Newspapers com Johnson Bobby H and R Stanley Mohler Wiley Post His Winnie Mae and the World s First Pressure Suit Annals of Flight Washington Smithsonian Institution 1971 Sterling Bryan and Frances 2001 Forgotten Eagle Wiley Post America s Heroic Aviation Pioneer New York Carroll amp Graf Publishers ISBN 0 7867 0894 8 Police Dept police explorers strolls through the streets of the U S Capitol stops for visits The Anderson Independent Mail July 18 2007 Archived from the original on September 30 2007 Retrieved July 20 2007 a b Body of Will Rogers to be Sent Home The Daily Tribune May 19 1944 p 1 Retrieved March 8 2017 via Newspapers com Oklahoma Memorial Union Will Rogers Room Union ou edu Retrieved August 14 2009 Will Rogers Medallion Award cowboypoetry com Retrieved July 3 2012 Will Rogers Polo Club Archived from the original on April 29 2009 Point of No Return The Will Rogers Wiley Post Memorial Seaplane Base Renton Raymond W Smith July 1983 National Register of Historic Places Registration Will Rogers Memorial Hospital New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation Archived from the original on January 27 2012 Retrieved July 10 2010 Stanley Meltzoff Archives The 1976 Bell System Telephone Book Cover JKL Museum of Telephony December 19 2015 retrieved March 16 2021 Will Rogers 140th Birthday Google November 4 2019 The Great Ziegfeld 1936 Full Cast amp Crew IMDb Retrieved April 15 2019 You re a Sweetheart 1937 Full Cast amp Crew IMDb Retrieved April 15 2019 Look for the Silver Lining 1949 Full Cast amp Crew IMDb Retrieved April 15 2019 The Story of Will Rogers 1952 Full Cast amp Crew IMDb Retrieved April 15 2019 Dennis McClellan James Whitmore dies at 87 veteran award winning actor brought American icons to the screen Los Angeles Times February 7 2009 Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle 1994 Full Cast amp Crew IMDb Retrieved April 15 2019 Will Rogers A Biography C SPAN September 25 1994 Retrieved March 21 2017 References Edit Humor s sober side Being an interview with Will Rogers another of a series on how humorists get that way by Josephine Van de Grift Bisbee Daily Review October 15 1922 p 4 O Brien P J 1935 Will Rogers Ambassador of Good Will Prince of Wit and Wisdom N P Winston ISBN missing Claim Will Rogers Is Free To Insult Race Under Agreement Kansas City MO Plaindealer February 2 1934 p 2 Protest Will Rogers Radio Speech Pittsburgh Courier January 27 1934 p 1 Sterling Bryan B and Frances N Sterling eds 1995 Will Rogers Speaks Over 1 000 Timeless Quotations for Public Speakers And Writers Politicians Comedians Browsers ISBN 0871317958 Will Rogers Hurls Back A Second Insult Baltimore Afro American February 3 1934 p 1 Yagoda Ben 2000 Will Rogers A Biography Norman University of Oklahoma Press ISBN 978 0 8061 3238 9 All references to Will Rogers concerned with early life and the annual celebration in or around Higgins Texas are taken from the Texas State Historical Association External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Will Rogers Wikiquote has quotations related to Will Rogers Will Rogers at IMDb Will Rogers at the Internet Broadway Database FBI Records The Vault Will Rogers at fbi gov The Official Site of Will Rogers Will Rogers Birthplace Will Rogers Museums Will Rogers State Historic Park Will Rogers Polo Club Will Rogers World Airport Will Rogers in three excerpts from 1935 broadcasts Will Rogers Institute The Tulsa World s Will Rogers site Works by Will Rogers at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Will Rogers at Internet Archive Writings of Will Rogers from C SPAN s American Writers A Journey Through History Voices of Oklahoma interview with Doris Coke Meyer grand niece to Will Rogers First person interview conducted with Doris Coke Meyer Will Rogers grand niece on May 17 2009 Image of Will Rogers tribute float at the Tournament of Roses Parade Pasadena California 1936 Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive Collection 1429 UCLA Library Special Collections Charles E Young Research Library University of California Los Angeles Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Will Rogers amp oldid 1086726095, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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