Florenz Ziegfeld's initial hostility to Will might have been expected. Aside from the showman's failure to appreciate Will's originality, the two men were extreme opposites in almost every respect—they had so little in common that one didn't expect to find them under the same theatre roof. "Half of the great comedians that I've had in my show and to whom I paid a lot of money were not only unfunny to me, but I couldn't understand how they could be funny to anybody else," said Ziegfeld. "They may have made my patrons shriek, but they made me cringe." Will was of course included in that assessment.
It wasn't a matter of personal dislike, for, with the passage of years, Ziegfeld often volunteered that Will's qualities of character and integrity were exceptional ones. It was simply that one man was a dedicated capitalist with an uncanny instinct for knowing what people would pay to see on a stage, while the other man was a performer, an artist, with none of Ziegfeld's penchant for shocking people—and none of Ziegfeld's coarseness.
Ziegfeld came to be called "The Great Glorifier" (nobody knows who originated the name), who structured an endless line of nubile clotheshorses.
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Publication information: Book title: American Original: A Life of Will Rogers. Contributors: Ray Robinson - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 115.
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