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Oliver Hardy

Oliver Hardy

Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 - February 23, 1965) and Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892 - August 7, 1957) were a comedy duo, formed in 1926, who appeared in silent movies and later in talkies.

Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, Lancashire (now Ulverston, Cumbria), England. Oliver Hardy (born Norvell Hardy) was born in Harlem, Georgia near Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Laurel began his career as a comedian in English music halls. He emigrated to America in 1910 and resumed a vaudeville career. An emulator of Charlie Chaplin, he made his first film appearance in 1918. He stayed in film and did minor and undistinguished work for Hal Roach, Anderson and Universal. While working for Roach he met Hardy. Hardy had been a cinema owner and went into the movies in the early 1920s. They first appeared in the same film in Slipping Wives and Roach saw something that led him to put them together in their 'first' two-reel film, Putting Pants on Philip (1927) directed by Leo McCarey, who went on to direct the majority of their early shorts.

They made a great number of popular shorts before their first long feature with director James Parrott, Pardon Us (1931). The duo reduced the number of shorts they made to concentrate on longer, but clearly less satisfying, works from then on, but still made the classic short The Music Box in 1932. They stopped making shorts in 1935, until when their longer works were Pack Up Your Troubles (1932), Fra Diavolo (1933), Sons of the Desert (1933) and Babes in Toyland (1934). By 1936 the relationship between Laurel and Hardy was under strain and both of them were distanced from Roach. The duo's other films with MGM were Bonnie Scotland (1935), The Bohemian Girl (1936), Our Relations (1936), Way Out West (1937, which includes the famous song On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine), Swiss Miss (1938), and Blockheads (1938). In 1938 they left MGM and made three more films before in 1940 they split with Roach too. They set up their own production company, making a further eight films up to 1945. They made one final film together in 1951, the French-set Robinson Crusoeland, directed by Léo Joannon.

Throughout their career the driving force was Laurel, who wrote the scripts and sometimes produced, and always insisted on being paid twice as much as Hardy.

The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert after the film of the same name. It was founded in New York in 1965 with the sanction of Stan Laurel.

Oliver Hardy died in 1957 and was interred in The Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood, California.

Their famous signature tune is known as the Cuckoo Song.


Note: This profile was written in or before 2003.

Oliver Hardy Facts

Birth NameOliver Norvell Hardy
OccupationActor
BirthdayJanuary 18, 1892
SignCapricorn
BirthplaceHarlem, Georgia, USA
Date of deathAugust 7, 1957 (age 65)
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Oliver Hardy compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection
Laurel & Hardy in Flying Deuces
Utopia
Flying Deuces
Stolen Jools
Classic Comedy Teams hosted by Steve Allen
March of the Wooden Soldiers
The Best of Laurel & Hardy
Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2
Laurel & Hardy
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