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Will Rogers is one of Americas great folk heroes He was born on November 4 1879 in Oologah Indian Territory now Claremore Oklahoma His full name is William Penn Adair Rogers He was 2340 on the official Cherokee roll He was named for one of the most revered Cherokees Col William Penn Adairhence his name Will often joked My parents didnt come over on the Mayflower but they met the boat He married Miss Betty Blake in 1908 and they had four children He grew up on a ranch and began his career as an entertainer in rodeos and Wild West shows He made his vaudeville debut with a rope throwing act in New York City New York in 1905 He traveled to South Africa Australia and New Zealand On stage he chewed big wads of gum and performed rope tricks while kidding about business people places and politics The people loved it They considered him a good friend Henry Ford gave him the first Model A Ford to come off the assembly line Will later joked that Mr Ford had run over more people than were killed in the Civil and Revolutionary Wars put togetherPeople all over the world knew of Will Rogers He wrote a column that appeared in three hundred and fifty newspapers world wide He was in fifty silent movies twenty-one talkies and was popular on the radio He wrote six books some of which are The Cowboy Philosophy on Prohibition 1919 Illiterate Digest 1924 and Will Rogers Political Follies 1929 He really loved to fly On August 19 1935 he flew with another Oklahoman Wiley Post to Alaska His wife asked him not to go She said she had a funny feeling something bad was going to happen he ignored her It was too bad she was right They both died when their plane crashed in the water near Point Barrow Alaska A group
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