William Penn Adair Rogers
“Will” Rogers, known as “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son,” was born on November 4, 1879, in what was then considered Indian Territory. His career included being a cowboy, writer, vaudeville performer, movie star and political wit. He poked fun at politicians, government programs, gangsters and current events, in a home spun and folksy way, making him one of the most idolized people in America. He became the highest paid Hollywood movie star at the time.
Will Rogers died on August 15, 1935 with his friend and pilot Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in Alaska. He once said that he wanted his tombstone to read “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like.” Some of his many, still appropriate quotes, follow:
“A fool and his money are soon elected.”
“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.”
“Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to somebody else.”
“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
Will Rogers’ statue can be seen in the National Statuary Hall Collection housed in the United States Capitol.
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