“I never met a man I didn’t like” is probably a shortened version of what he wrote, and while the actual source is unclear, the definition of this epigram is not. It sums up what world saw in will certainly Rogers: honesty, plain-spokenness, and also decency.

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Born in the Cherokee nation in the Indian are (now Oklahoma) in 1879, the youngest that eight children, William penn Adair Rogers’s family members was created enough the the county they resided in was called Rogers ar after his father.

He dropped out of school after the tenth grade and also worked ~ above the household ranch till 1901, when he and also a friend determined to come to be gauchos top top a ranch in Argentina. That didn’t occupational out, therefore he relocated to south Africa wherein he captured on with “Texas Jack’s Wild West Circus,” doing cheat roping. In ~ a year he had actually moved to Australia and was appearing with Wirth brother Circus, including pony riding to his cheat roping act.

Rogers generally performed on phase with a partner and his horse. The story walk that, when he muffed a trick, he’d react to it humorously v a slim comment that drew laughs native the audience.


The vaudeville circuit was grueling, together it meant constant travel. In ~ some point he met Betty Blake of Rogers, Arkansas and also in 1906 that asked her to marry him. She said no, perhaps not being enthusiastic about life ~ above the road. By 1908, however, she had actually relented, and also they to be married in her hometown that Rogers. She accompanied him for numerous years, but when the an initial of their four children arrived, she continued to be at their ranch in Claremore, Oklahoma.

Will’s vaudeville time brought him to the an alert of william Hammerstein, that signed him and also his horse in for $250 a mainly to appear at the Victoria Roof — literally a rooftop theater at brand-new York’s saturday Avenue and also 42nd Street.

In 1915 that began showing up in Florenz Ziegfeld’s “Midnight Frolic,” i m sorry was held on an additional rooftop theater, this one the new Amsterdam theater, where Ziegfeld’s “Follies” to be performed below. Through 1918 the had become Ziegfeld’s (and new York’s) greatest star.

Will started lacing his act v commentary and also deft political jabs at any politician in sight. Once, as soon as President Woodrow Wilson was in the audience, his ad-lib roast had actually not only the audience yet Wilson self roaring.

Samuel Goldwyn, the producer and president that Goldwyn images Corporation, encouraged Rogers to star in a quiet film dubbed Laughing invoice Hyde in 1918.

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He functioned mornings ~ above the film, then went back to the theatre for afternoon and also evening performances because that Ziegfeld.

When Goldwyn asked will to relocate to Hollywood to make much more pictures, will certainly agreed yet stayed v Ziegfeld for the duration of the brand-new York operation of the “Follies” add to the annual tour, i m sorry concluded on may 31, 1919. Ziegfeld, who had actually only a handshake agreement with Will, threw a going-away party and presented Will with a yellow watch, engraved “To will Rogers, in evaluation of a an excellent fellow, whose word is his bond.”