Will Rogers (November 4, 1879 - August 15, 1935) was a Cherokee-American actor, singer, musician, and humorist. By the time of his death, he'd made over 71 movies, written over 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns, and was Hollywood's top paid star.
Known as "Oklahoma's Favorite Son", Rogers was born to a prominent Cherokee family in Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). He traveled around the world three times, made 71 movies (50 silent films and 21 "talkies"), wrote more than 4,000 nationally syndicated newspaper columns, and became a world-famous figure. By the mid-1930s, the American people adored Rogers. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was the top-paid Hollywood movie star at the time. Rogers died in 1935 with aviator Wiley Post, when their small airplane crashed in Alaska.
Rogers's humor remains timeless. His sardonic observations often remain as valid today as they were in his time.
While covering the Democratic National Convention in 1932, journalist Charlie Sullivan was reminded of Will Rogers' famous line, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat." That bit of Rogers wisdom was on display as the convention saw a battle between Joe Steele and Franklin D. Roosevelt for the party nomination for the presidency.
Years later, after Steele had become president and was creating legislation for the establishment of labor camps in the country, journalist Mike Sullivan published an article in the New York Post entitled "Land of the Free and Home of the Labor Camp!" in the hopes that someone like Will Rogers or Walter Winchell would pick up the piece and create public opposition to the bill. Stan Feldman, his editor, was skeptical about public outrage, quoting H.L. Mencken about underestimating the public's intelligence.