The Will Rogers World Airport is located in Oklahoma City, OK. It’s also known as Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers. The airport is named after William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers who was a much loved stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator.
Will Rogers was born on his family’s ranch in Oologah, Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma) on November 4, 1879. Both his parents were partly of Cherokee descent. Will Rogers would say that “he was from Claremore because no one but an Indian could pronounce Oologah.”
Growing up on his family’s ranch, Will Rogers learned to work cattle, ride horses and lasso. He would eventually parlay his skills with a lasso into career as a performer with the “Texas Jack’s Wild West Show”, The Wirth Brothers Circus, and Ziegfeld Follies and on the vaudeville circuits in America, Canada and Europe. It was during his roping performances that Will Rogers would entertain his audience with homespun humor. Soon his humor became more of a draw than his rope handling.
With the advent of silent films and later talking films, Will Rogers became an audience favorite. He would eventually star in 71 films as well as several Broadway productions. He left his mark as a writer. He wrote six books and 4000 syndicated columns. He also became a well-known radio broadcaster and political commentator. “He called politics ‘the best show in the world’ and described Congress as the ‘national joke factory’.”
Will Roger’s life ended at the age of 55. He and his friend and aviator, Willey Post, perished in a plane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, on August 15, 1935.
If you would like to find out more about Will Rogers, you can visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma and the Will Rogers Dog Iron Ranch & Birthplace Home in Oologah, Oklahoma.