Will Rogers: “Everyone loved his act so he started writing a daily newspaper column.”

From The Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of the cowboy comedian Will Rogers, born in 1879 in Oologah in what is now Oklahoma. In those days, it was called Indian Territory. He was part Cherokee and got the nickname “the Cherokee Kid.” He grew up on a ranch, and he learned to rope as a boy. . . .

He tried some school here and there, but he didn’t like it, and he dropped out to work on ranches, traveling to Argentina, South Africa, and Australia. He got a job as a roper in the circus, and moved on to vaudeville, where he was a success. He moved from just doing stunts to incorporating stand-up comedy in his act — commentary on the daily news, one-liners, and riffs on politics and culture, all delivered with an Oklahoma twang.

Everyone loved his act so he started writing a daily newspaper column, “Will Rogers Says,” which was read by about 40 million people a day. He also acted in more than 70 Hollywood films. He died in a plane crash when he was 55.

He said, “America is becoming so educated that ignorance will be a novelty. I will belong to a select few.”

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