WILL ROGERS 1959
"Ride on, ye Ropers!"
About Us > Our Namesake
Favorite Quotes from Will Rogers, 1879-1935
- An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out.
- Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to
happen to us with both a Senate and a House?
- Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.
- Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it
goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it.
- Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
- I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.
- I was not a child prodigy, because a child prodigy is a child who knows as
much when it is a child as it does when it grows up.
- I'm not a real movie star. I've still got the same wife I started out with twenty-
eight years ago.
- Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the
- Nothing you can't spell will ever work.
- On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only
nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it
- The best doctor in the world is the veterinarian. He can't ask his patients what
is the matter—he's got to just know.
- The movies are the only business where you can go out front and applaud
- The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them.
- There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government
working for you.
- This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as
when the baby gets hold of a hammer.
- We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can.
- We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as
they go by.
He is most often quoted as saying: "I never met a man I didn't like." Here's
what he actually said, in context:
“I bet you if I had met him [Bolshevik Revolutionary Leon Trotsky] and had
a chat with him, I would have found him a very interesting and human
fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn't like.”
Will Rogers as quoted in Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 6, 1926
Will Rogers was born November 4, 1879, in a ranch home halfway
between Claremore and Oolagah in Indian Territory. He was of
Scotch-Irish-Cherokee ancestors, wealthy Georgia plantation owners, who
emigrated to what is now eastern Oklahoma in the 1820s. He was the eighth
child and only son of Clement Vann Rogers and Mary Schrimpsher Rogers.
His stage career began in Johannesburg, South Africa, when Texas Jack took
him into his Wild West Show. Then followed circus tours over Australia and
New Zealand, which were terminated in 1904, when he landed in San
Francisco. He received publicity for roping a runaway steer during a redeo in
Madison Square Garden in 1905. Two months later, he was in vaudeville,
appearing at the Keith Union Square Theatre in New York. Through Gene Buck,
he was introduced to Florenz Ziegfeld, who put him in his show at the famous
Amsterdam Roof in New York.
On November 5, 1908, at Rogers, Arkansas, he married Miss Betty Blake,
whose acquantance he made in 1900. To them were born four children, Will
Jr., Mary, Jimmy and Fred, who died as an infant.
Will Rogers was Ziegfeld's greatest find, and Ziegfeld did more for Rogers
professionally than did any other person. From 1905 until 1925, when the
Follies closed, those two worked together with a "hand-shake" contract
While in Hollywood, Mrs. Rex Beach, sister-in-law of Fred Stone, prevailed
upon Will Rogers to appeear in the movie "Jes Call Me Jim." His first film
contract was signed with the Goldwyn Company in 1918 to make "lauging Bill
His writing career began December 31, 1922, when he wrote his first
newspaper column, which he extended into short daily wires carried by over
five hndred newspapers. As a columnist, he went everywhere and wrote about
everything, making historical source material of high authenticity and
importance. In the column are preserved the ephemeral stage wise cracks,
making them a durable contribution to American letters.
With the advent of talking pictures, the real Will Rogers was brought before his
public, for much of his charm was in his voice. In 1930, he began his radio
talks through the courtesy of E.R. Squibb & Sons. It was through this medium
that he became a universal hero.
At 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, August 15, 1935, he met his death in an airplace
crash fifteen miles south of Point Barrow in Alaska.
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