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 Earl Rogers

Earl Rogers

Birth
Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Death 22 Feb 1922 (aged 52)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section H, Lot 4996
Memorial ID 8984 · View Source
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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


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 5 Apr 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8984
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Earl Rogers (18 Nov 1869–22 Feb 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8984, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .