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Earl Rogers
Birth: Nov. 18, 1869
Death: Feb. 22, 1922

Attorney. One of the most famous criminal defense lawyers of his day. His flamboyant courtroom antics and memory for detail won over jurors despite overwhelming evidence against his clients. A popular saying of the time went, "If you are guilty, hire Earl Rogers". Born near Buffalo, New York, he was the son of a Methodist minister who settled in Los Angeles in the mid-1870s. After a short stint as a journalist he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1897. Although he preferred civil law, he found that trying criminal cases appealed to the actor in him. Rogers first won fame in 1899 for successfully defending William Alford, who had been accused in the shooting death of a prominent local attorney; he had the victim's internal organs brought into court to prove his theories about the bullet's trajectory. He went on to score 183 acquittals out of 202 cases. His famous clients included real estate tycoon Griffith J. Griffith, accused of trying to murder his wife in 1903 (he got Griffith a light sentence, arguing diminished mental capacity); famed attorney Clarence Darrow, indicted for jury-tampering in 1912; and Los Angeles Police Chief (and later Mayor) Charles E. Sebastian, whom he cleared of morals charges in 1915. But Rogers' brilliant career was hampered and eventually ruined by alcoholism. He died at 52, broke and alone in a Los Angeles boarding house. Earl Stanley Gardner reportedly modeled his fictional character Perry Mason after him, and actor Lionel Barrymore won an Oscar for playing a drunken lawyer based on Rogers in "A Free Soul" (1931). His daughter, journalist and author Adela Rogers St. Johns, wrote the screenplay for that film and later penned his biography, "Final Verdict" (1962). (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouses:
  Belle Hazel Green Rogers (1872 - 1944)*
  Edna Irene Landers Rogers (1889 - 1919)*
 
 Children:
  Adela Rogers St. Johns (1894 - 1988)*
  Bogart Rogers (1897 - 1966)*
  Thornwell Rogers (1910 - 1945)*
  Bryson Rogers (1911 - 1994)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Evergreen Cemetery
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Section H, Lot 4996
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Apr 05, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 8984
Earl Rogers
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Earl Rogers
Added by: Scott G
 
Earl Rogers
Cemetery Photo
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
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This man continues to be an inspiration to me in my law practice. He is, very simply, one of my heroes.
- Mark Stanziano
 Added: Feb. 6, 2014

- Rosebud Duff
 Added: Sep. 29, 2013

- Tammy
 Added: May. 3, 2013
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Current ranking for this person: (4.0 after 25 votes)
 

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