Will Rogers

Class of
Will Rogers

Will Rogers

“Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead.”
Will Rogers


William Penn Adair Rogers was born of Cherokee heritage and loved to ride horses on the family’s large frontier ranch. In 1902, he traveled to South America and hired himself out as a gaucho, then joined “Texas Jack’s Wild West Show” where he was billed as “The Cherokee Kid.” Rogers then worked for the Wirth Brothers Circus as roping artist and returned to the U.S. in 1904. He joined Colonel Mulhall’s Cowboy Band and Riders in New York in 1905 and ultimately signed with the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915. He was soon a national star and moved to Beverly Hills, California, in 1919. Rogers starred in 71 movies during the 1920s and 1930s, was a popular radio personality and political commentator, and wrote more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns. The wit and humor with which Rogers wrote and spoke about American politics made him a powerful pundit whose sayings are still relevant to politics today. In addition to his notable career in show business, Rogers was also instrumental in advancing commercial flight throughout his life. On August 15, 1935, Rogers tragically lost his life in a plane crash in Alaska with pioneer aviator and fellow Oklahoman Wiley Post. The Will Rogers Memorial was dedicated in Claremore, Oklahoma, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938 and is still open today as part of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.

Fun fact

Will Rogers starred in 71 movies during the 1920s and 1930s; was a popular radio personality; and wrote more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns.

Oklahoma connections

Rogers was born on the family ranch two miles east of present-day Oolagah in the old Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.




Actor/Civic Leader/Journalist






Relevant Exhibits

Green Country: From Lenapah to Prague

Green Country: From Lenapah to Prague

This exhibit features the lives of 18 Oklahoma Hall of Fame inductees from the 18-county region in northeast Oklahoma.