Will Rogers, born on November 4, 1879, began life as a cowhand and became a stage and motion picture star and a respected homespun philosopher. Apart from being an actor, he was a circus performer, a comedian, an aviation enthusiast, and a newspaper columnist. Rogers starred in 71 films, 50 silent films, and 21 spoken films. He wrote in newspaper columns daily — by 1926, his “Will Rogers Says” column had more than 40 million readers. We are proud of Oklahoma’s favorite son and will celebrate his special day right here.
William Penn Adair Rogers
November 4, 1879
August 15, 1935 (age 55)
Will Rogers is a larger-than-life personality who never failed to impress anyone who met him while he was alive and anyone who learned about him after his passing. Rogers’ father thought he would end up as a failed child, but he proved the older man wrong and became more prominent than anyone could have imagined. Rogers was born in Oologah, Indian Territory, Rogers County, Oklahoma. His Parents were Clement V. Rogers and Mary America Schrimsher, and his zodiac sign is Scorpio. He had Cherokee, English, and German ancestry.
Rogers attended Kemper Military School at Boonville but dropped out because he was a poor student and was more interested in cowboys and horses. He learned to do rope tricks and ride while growing up on his father’s ranch. Rogers left home for Argentina in 1901 and spent five months trying to make it as a ranch owner in the Pampas. The venture failed, so he set sail for South Africa the following year. In South Africa, he worked at a ranch and joined Texas Jack’s ‘Great Wild West Show and Circus.’
In 1903, he left Texas Jack’s group and went to Australia to join another circus. He returned to the United States in 1904 and joined Zack Mulhall’s Cowboy Carnival. Willie Hammerstein saw his vaudeville performance and signed him to appear on the Victoria Roof with his pony. In 1916, he started appearing in Ziegfeld’s “Follies” on Broadway and appeared in most of them until 1925. At this point, he had added full-blown satire to his acts. He started acting in films in 1918, beginning with “Laughing Bill Hyde” (1918), a silent film. Samuel Goldwyn gave him a contract and used the money to purchase a ranch.
Rogers heads to Argentina in an attempt to set up a ranch.
He travels to South Africa and joins Texas Jack's circus group.
Rogers returns home to continue his career as a circus showman.
Hammerstein hands Rogers a job on the Victoria Roof — he works there for a decade.
He joins Ziegfeld's "Follies" and becomes an integral part of the show.
He makes his acting debut in "Laughing Bill Hyde."
Why We Love Will Rogers
He was tenacious
He tried many careers and trades before settling for a Vaudeville career. However, he never stopped trying.
He liked everyone
He once remarked that he has never met a man he didn't like. He had a pleasant attitude, and he shared that happiness with those around him.
He tried to never offend anyone
Many comedians use their jokes as a tool to hurt their perceived enemies. This was unlike Rogers, as he avoided hurting people with his craft.
5 Surprising Facts
Rogers' favorite food
Rogers loved beans and steak fried with gravy, and instead of eating a dessert, he would eat more beans.
He traveled around the world three times
He went around the world three times before reaching the age of 20.
His favorite political leader
He was a big fan of Theodore Roosevelt and often spoke in support of him.
He was an honorary mayor
He was the first honorary mayor of Beverly Hills, and his popularity required the California Legislature to rule that the rightful town mayor was in charge of the city.
The highest-paid Vaudeville star
In his prime, Rogers received the highest amount of money a Vaudeville performer had ever received.
Will Rogers FAQs
Did Will Rogers have any children?
Rogers had four children. They are Will Rogers Jr, Mary Rogers, Jim Rogers, and Fred Rogers.
How did Will Rogers become famous?
Rogers partnered with the Fox Film Corporation to make his first talking picture. The technology to convey the sound in films made him a bigger star than ever.
Who died with Will Rogers?
Aviator Wiley Post died alongside Rogers in an air crash. The crash happened in Alaska.
Will Rogers’s birthday dates