William Penn Adair Rogers was born on November 4, 1879, in Indian Territory, an area of land that later would become known as Oklahoma. His father, Clem Rogers, was a sucessful rancher, cattleman and banker. The Rogers ranch and Will's birthplace still stand and is now a tourist attraction near Oologah, Oklahoma.|
Known as the "Indian Cowboy" from the Cherokee Nation, Will was to become the most popular and best loved American of his time...the entertainer of kings and commoners alike. As a young man, Will became an expert rider and "rope twirler"...later starring in wild west shows and vaudeville around the World.
He went to Hollywood in 1918 and starred in many features and shorts in silent cinema. After the advent of sound, Rogers rapidly became a top box office attraction. In 1934 he was voted the most popular male actor in Hollywood.
Will's popularity spread to other media, notably radio and the press, in which his political commentary carried much weight among citizens and politicians alike. He declined a nomination for the governorship of Oklahoma, served as mayor of Beverly Hills, and was instrumental in the election of FDR as President in 1932.
Will Rogers married Betty Blake in November 1908 after an 8 year courtship. He would say, "When I roped her, that was the star performance of my life". One son, actor-entertainer Will Jr., played his famous father in "The Story of Will Rogers" in 1952. Will Rogers died in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska with his good friend, aviation legend Wiley Post in August 1935.
For more insight into Will Rogers' many accomplishments and writings, including photographs, please continue....