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Will Rogers

Will Rogers (1879-1935) was an American humorist and entertainer. Born in Indian Territory (he was part Cherokee) in what would later become the state of Oklahoma, he grew up as a cowboy, with a special knack for rodeo tricks, including bare-back horse riding and rope twirling.

Rogers moved to Hollywood in 1934, and his career in acting immediately took off. He starred in silent and later sound films. At the same time, he also began writing a popular syndicated column called "Will Rogers Says." In it, he expressed his disappointment with big government and the effect it had on the nation, particularly during the Depression era. His wit was often caustic: as he explained, "There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you." Nevertheless, he identified with the Democratic Party, saying "I don't belong to any organized party. I'm a Democrat, and was a vocal supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At one point, he was even asked to run for governor of Oklahoma, the party hoping to benefit from his immense popularity.

Will Rogers's career was cut short, when he died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935. In 1944 his body was moved from a holding vault in California to the grounds of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. In 1944, Mrs. Rogers was later interred beside him.

Notable Quotes

  • Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
  • Liberty don't work as good in practice as it does in speeches.
  • We are the first nation to starve to death in a storehouse that's overfilled with everything we want.
  • The Democrats ran on "Honesty" and I told 'em at the time they would never get anywhere. It was too radical for politics. The Republicans ran on "Common Sense" and the returns showed that there were 8 million more people in the United States who had "Common Sense" enough not to believe that there was "Honesty" in politics.
  • I represent a new class of people in this country, the newly poor.
  • I am a peace man. I haven't got any use for wars and there is no more humor in 'em than there is reason for 'em.
  • People often ask me, "Will, where do you get your jokes?
    I just tell 'em, "Well, I watch the government and report the facts, that is all I do, and I don't even find it necessary to exaggerate."
  • I got a telegram from Amarillo, Texas, and they want me to say something about mothers-in-law. They say thay are having a mother-in-law day. I had a wonderful mother-in-law, and I always felt--after looking at mothers-in-law and seeing sons-in-law--I always felt that the jokes were on the wrong ones. No sir, you can look through everything I ever did write or say, and you never did hear me tell a joke about any mother-in-law, or any creed, color or religion, either.
  • I tell you, this finding out how to govern a country, or even a state, or county, or even town, has got the whole world licked. There is not a type of government that can point with complete pride and say: There, this is the best that can be had!



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