American Vaudeville Museum

All material 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc. Page 9

Will Rogers

1879 1935

Despite the hoopla that attends stardom, there are truly few legends in show business. In any handful of candidates, one man is sure to be included: Will Rogers. He began as a roper and rider in wild West shows, entered vaudeville, became one of the Ziegfeld Follies favorites (a backwoods wit among glittering glamour girls), a Hollywood star and a social and political commentator. There even was serious talk about Rogers for President of the USA, but he knew better; his job was to expose fatuous and pompous behavior, not contribute to it.

His public image provided some privacy for the man. The public accepted his at face value. That he grew up within a relatively prosperous family, was rich and self- educated and well informed, and hobnobbed with other people distinguished by the singularity of their achievements did not detract from his image as a down-to-earth man of the people.