William Penn Adair Rogers was a Native American of Cherokee descent. Born near Oologah, Oklahoma in 1879, he died in a private plane crash near Barrow, Alaska, in 1935, along with fellow Oklahoman, and record setting aviator, Wiley Post. His mother was the daughter of a Cherokee Chief, and his father, a Cherokee senator and judge. Early in life, Will became interested in horseback riding and roping, becoming so proficient with the lariat that he was listed in the Guinnes Book of World Records for throwing three ropes at once - one around the neck of a horse, another around the horse's rider, and a third around all four legs of the horse.
Will moved first to Argentina, where he attempted to operate a ranch, and later to South Africa, where he worked as a horse breaker for the British Army. Acquiring an interest in showmanship, he became a trick roper in a traveling circus in Australia (ultimately, Will would travel around the world three times). While in New York, Will became a vaudeville performer, working as a lasso twirler and comedian. He became so popular, that he was hired to perform in the Ziegfeld Follies.
Rogers began starring in films, moving to California, and eventually starred in 70 movies. He took up writing newspaper columns, and quickly became recognized as being a very informed and smart philosopher and political satirist. Will also became a radio superstar, gave numerous after-dinner speehes, held numerous charitable benefits, became the toast of high society, and once even ran as a liberal candidate for US President. His accidental death was mourned by millions, and he is honored with a statue facing the door of the Senate chambers, inside the US capitol (so he can "keep an eye on Congress"). It is said that Presidents rub the statues left shoe for luck, before giving their "State of the Union" address.
Will Rogers—pithy, political, and plainspoken—was one of the finest entertainers of his generation. As a great American humorist, it was considered an honor to be made fun of by him. By the time of his death in 1935, he had traveled the globe three ti...[SEE MORE]