University of Alaska PRESS

Book Detail

Book Cover

6 x 9, 189 pages, 32 photos, 3 maps

Format: cloth

Price: $26.95

October 2008

When the Laughing Stopped

The Strange, Sad Death of Will Rogers

by Walsh, John Evangelist



For depression-era America, there was probably no more beloved character than Will Rogers. Dubbed the cowboy philosopher, he was a top attraction in movies, a star on the radio, and a much-quoted newspaper columnist. His wryly humorous observations on ordinary life, especially politics, endeared him to millions.

Then suddenly in the summer of 1935 came the shocking news -Will Rogers was dead. Only 55, at the height of his immense fame, he was killed in the crash of a small plane on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in northernmost Alaska.

Drawing on extensive original research, the author recounts the tragic story with a wealth of new detail. In addition to a full discussion and analysis of the crash, this compelling narrative provides a moving portrait of the unfortunate Mary Rogers, Will's daughter, whose life was greatly undone by her father's untimely death.

John Evangelist Walsh is the author of biographies on Robert Frost, Edgar Allan Poe, and John Keats, among others, and is the author of the definitive article on the legend of Babe Ruth's "called shot."

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