August 21, 1935
Will Rogers, world-famous humorist, motion picture comic actor and newspaper columnist and his pilot and companion, Wiley Post, were instantly killed when their plane crashed from sixty feet in the air into a river bank fifteen miles south of Point Barrow in northern-most Alaska last Thursday evening. The time of the crash was evidently at 8:15 p.m., Pacific Standard time, as Post’s watch was shown to have stopped at that time.
The death of the famous comedian and the world-renowned flyer was flashed to the world by the Associated Press as soon as the news was received at Barrow, fifteen miles from the scene. A native runner on foot conveyed the news and it was at once telegraphed to the civilized world outside.
Notables of the world, including presidents and kings, motion picture leaders, literary men and people in all stations of life expressed regret at the sudden going of America’s and the world’s favorite fun-maker. President Roosevelt, Vice-President Garner, Speaker Byrns, United States Senators and Congressmen, and distinguished men in other walks of life gave the press interviews on his death in which all, as of one accord, deem the loss irreparable. They say millions will miss him and his voice on the screen and his delicious humor in the papers.
Reports say that, in 1930, Rogers made a speech in Boston in which, concerning the epitaph to be engraved on his gravestone, he said: “When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: ‘I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like.’ “