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Google Doodle's animated cowboy celebrates what would've been Will Rogers' 140th birthday

Google kicked off Native American Indian Heritage Month with an animated doodle dedicated to Will Rogers. The entertainer, humorist and author who became known as "America's Cowboy Philosopher" was born on this day in 1879 at Rogers Ranch in Oologah, Cherokee Territory, in what is now the state of Oklahoma.

Rogers was known for saying, "I never met a man I didn't like," but he also once said, "A man that don't love a horse — there is something the matter with him." Rogers was known for riding horses and performing rope tricks as "The Cherokee Kid." His act toured the world and he performed in circuses and on Broadway in the Ziegfeld Follies before reaching an even wider audience through the movies.


Rogers became a vaudeville actor and filmmaker, producing and starring in "The Ropin' Fool," in 1921. Soon he was consider one of the most popular actors of his time. He went on to host a radio show and write bestselling books and newspaper columns about American life and the issues of the day.

"He called politics 'the best show in the world' and described Congress as the 'national joke factory.' His folksy humor and honest, intelligent observations about the government and America earned the respect of the nation," his official website says.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers is shown in his cowboy attire in 1935.  AP

Rogers even served a brief stint as "honorary mayor of Beverly Hills," but never forgot his Cherokee roots. He was the son of a Cherokee senator and his home near Oologah, Oklahoma, is now a museum. He also inspired a musical, "The Will Rogers Follies," and several sites in Oklahoma are dedicated to his life.

On what would've been his 140th birthday, the world-famous rope performer is honored with a Google Doodle that will appear for Google users in North America. The animated doodle was created by San Francisco-based artist Kevin Laughlin. "I find the idea of a cowboy, who is also a newspaper columnist, deeply satisfying," Laughlin said about his doodle subject.

"My approach to this Doodle was unique in that I spent a considerable amount of time reading through Will's quotes, as opposed to studying imagery," Laughlin said. He encouraged others to learn more about Rogers' life.

Rogers' great-granddaughter, Jennifer Rogers-Etcheverry, said in a statement to Google the family was thrilled he's receiving this honor. "Will Rogers was an unofficial ambassador for the United States and had a presence that can still be felt to this day," Rogers-Etcheverry, said.

"A memorable story is that of a gentleman who once said, 'The only time I ever saw my father cry was the day Will Rogers died.' Will Rogers had a natural way of communicating to the rich and the poor. He was a ray of hope when America felt lost and alone. Most of his sayings and writings are still relevant and are used almost daily in today's media," her statement continued. 

Rogers died in 1935 in an airplane crash in Alaska at the age of 55.

Will Rogers, humorist and actor, is shown in this studio portrait taken in Hollywood, on August 16, 1935. AP
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