Will Rogers’ Biography

“An actor is a fellow that just has a little more monkey in him than the fellow that can’t act.”

– Will Rogers


William Penn Adair Rogers is born on his father’s ranch near Oologah, Indian Territory.


Begins work as a cowboy on a ranch in Higgins, Texas.


In December, joins Texas Jack’s American Circus and Wild West Show in South Africa as a bronco rider and lasso thrower. Billed as the “Cherokee Kid.”


Joins Colonel Zach Mulhall’s Wild West Show as a fancy roper at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. In October, plays in a vaudeville bill at the Cleveland Theatre in Chicago.


Receives considerable publicity for helping to rope a runaway bull that had run into stands at the Horse Fair in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Buck McGee becomes his partner, riding Will’s horse on stage.


Will marries Betty Blake in Arkansas on November 25. They will have four children. Three of them survive to adulthood.


Will takes his first airplane flight in Atlantic City.


He gives his first presidential performance to Woodrow Wilson in May. In July, Will joins the Ziegfeld Follies as a comedian and emcee.


Will makes his first motion picture, Laughing Bill Hyde.


Moves the family to California to start a silent film contract with Goldwyn Studio.


He stars in and produces his own motion pictures, as well as begins a series of syndicated weekly articles for the McNaught Syndicate.


Travels all over United States on a lecture tour.


Elected honorary mayor of Beverly Hills, California.


Will makes his first sound picture for Fox Film Corporation. He will star in 21 films for them from 1929-1935.


Does a series of radio broadcasts for E. R. Squibb and Sons.


Travels to Nicaragua to benefit earthquake and fire victims, and to London to observe disarmament conference.


Will Rogers is the highest paid film star in Hollywood. His famous talks on the Gulf Oil radio broadcasts reach millions of listeners. Will and Betty celebrate their silver anniversary.


August 15, Will Rogers is killed with his friend Wiley Post in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska.