Rogers, Will

Rogers, Will (William Penn Adair Rogers), 1879–1935, American humorist, b. Oolagah, Indian Territory (now in Oklahoma). In his youth he worked as a cowboy in Oklahoma, and after traveling over the world, he returned to the United States and worked in vaudeville as a cowboy rope-twirler, joking casually with the audience. He was an immediate success when he joined the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915. Rogers gained a wide audience, starring in more than 70 motion pictures, writing six books, appearing on dozens of radio broadcasts, and writing a popular syndicated newspaper column. His salty comments on the political and social scene made the cowboy philosopher widely known. A constant booster of airplane travel, Rogers made several long airplane trips he was killed with Wiley Post when their plane crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska.

See his autobiography (ed. by D. Day, 1949) and writings (1973) biography by R. D. White, Jr. (2011) D. R. Milsten, An Appreciation of Will Rogers (1976) P. C. Rollins, Will Rogers: A Bio-Bibliography (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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