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 Will Rogers

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Will Rogers

  • Birth 4 Nov 1879 Oologah, Rogers County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Death 15 Aug 1935 Barrow, North Slope Borough, Alaska, USA
  • Burial Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma, USA
  • Memorial ID 894

Humorist, Actor, Author. Born William Penn Adair Rogers the youngest of eight in Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory which would later be known as Oologah, Oklahoma to Mary America Scrimsher and Clem Rogers, a successful rancher. As a boy, he was taught the lariat by a former slave and became an expert rider and roper. He would later star in wild west shows and vaudeville around the world on the strengths learned on his father's ranch. He dropped out of school in the tenth grade and would always regret doing so. He married Betty Blake in November 1908 and they had four children; Will Jr., Mary, Jim, and Fred who died of diphtheria at two. He joined the Ziegfield Follies in 1917, which showcased his lariat skills, but gradually evolved to include observations about life, the country, and the government. He went to Hollywood in 1918 and appeared in such films as 'Laughing Bill Hyde' (1918), 'The Ropin' Fool' (1921), 'They Had to See Paris' (1929) and 'State Fair' (1934). He eventually starred in over 70 features and shorts. In 1934 he was voted the most popular actor in Hollywood. He also wrote a popular syndicated column and six books. He became a prominent radio broadcaster and political commentator basing a large part of his humor upon politics which he called the best show in the world, describing Congress as the "national joke factory." He is often quoted as saying: "I joked about every prominent man in my lifetime, but I never met one I didn't like." He once declined a nomination for the governorship of Oklahoma, but served as the mayor of Beverly Hills. Wiley Post, a famous aviator at the time, was a great friend of Will's who shared his love of flying. The pair set off in Wiley's bright red Lockheed Orion Sirius Explorer equipped with floats in the summer of 1935. Most experts now believe that a combination of miscalculations in the design and operation of the heavily customized aircraft resulted in the uncontrollable spin that occurred right after takeoff. They crashed at Point Barrow, Alaska, on August 15, 1935. Both men were killed on impact.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 894
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Will Rogers (4 Nov 1879–15 Aug 1935), Find A Grave Memorial no. 894, citing Will Rogers Museum, Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .