Stan Laurel - Biography - IMDb
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Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (5)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (173)  | Personal Quotes (16)  | Salary (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Ulverston, Lancashire, England, UK
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameArthur Stanley Jefferson
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (5)

Stan Laurel came from a theatrical family, his father was an actor and theatre manager, and he made his stage debut at the age of 16 at Pickard's Museum, Glasgow. He traveled with Fred Karno's vaudeville company to the United States in 1910 and again in 1913. While with that company he was Charles Chaplin's understudy, and he performed imitations of Chaplin. On a later trip he remained in the United States, having been cast in a two-reel comedy, Nuts in May (1917) (not released until 1918). There followed a number of shorts for Metro, Hal Roach Studios, then Universal, then back to Roach in 1926. His first two-reeler with Oliver Hardy was 45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926). Their first release through MGM was Sugar Daddies (1927) and the first with star billing was From Soup to Nuts (1928). Their first feature-length starring roles were in Pardon Us (1931). Their work became more production-line and less popular during the war years, especially after they left Roach and MGM for Twentieth Century-Fox. Their last movie together was The Bullfighters (1945) except for a dismal failure made in France several years later (Utopia (1950)). In 1960 he was given a special Oscar "for his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy". He died five years later.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Lancashire in England, 1890. His father was a vaudeville performer and this led Arthur to being a stage performer too. He didn't get much schooling and this led to the joining of Fred Karno's Troupe where Arthur understudied the future star, Charles Chaplin. In 1912 they went on a tour to America where Chaplin remained, but Stan went straight back to England. In 1916 he returned to the States and did an impersonation of Charlie Chaplin and the act was called "The Keystone Trio" and it was quite successful.

In 1917 Stan made his first movie entitled Nuts in May (1917) and at the first screening among the people in the audience were Chaplin himself and producer Carl Laemmle who were both impressed. This led onto more short comedies with such greats as Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, and Hal Roach. Stan now changed his surname to Laurel thus given the name Stan Laurel. In 1917 Laurel had in fact appeared in a film called The Lucky Dog (1921) with an actor in the cast by the name of Babe Hardy. They formed a friendship but not a very good one. Stan later said they did not see each other for another 2 or 3 years.

It was in 1925 that Hardy and Laurel had met again at the Hal Roach studios and at that point in time Laurel was directing movies at the studio with Hardy in the cast for a couple of years. Among these films were Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925) and Wandering Papas (1926) written & directed by Stan Laurel and starring Babe who now acted under his real name, Oliver Hardy. In 1926 they began appearing together but not yet as a team. One of the directors at the Hal Roach studio known around the world as director of such great movies The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) and Going My Way (1944), Leo McCarey joined these comic geniuses and an immediate partnership unfolded. Laurel & Hardy had appeared as funny as they could be in Putting Pants on Philip (1927) which led them to stardom. They made films for another 20 years. Laurel & Hardy are now known as one of the best comedy teams. They retired from films in 1950 but Stan & Oliver went on a tour of England and appeared in many stage shows for years.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Daniel Dopierala

On 18 March 1917, nearly a decade before he would become a prominent comedic figure Stan Laurel played a four day vaudeville engagement at Seattle's Palace Hip (short for hippodrome) Theatre. Having visited the city on four previous stage tours in minor comedy roles with the Chaplin led Karno troupe this was his visit as a solo vaudeville act aided by Mae Laurel (nee Dahlberg) his common law wife in a skit called 'raffles the Dentist'. The playlet centred on the plight of a burglar who breaks into an apartment only to find it's occupant, a lovely young woman with a toothache, who mistakes him for the dentist she'd sent for earlier. Occupying a featured position on the bill the sketch, according to reviews, was a variety show in itself for into the basic scenario the pair somehow managed to weave comedy, music and dance. it was an odd mixture from the sounds of it but was nonetheless greeted with applause by the Seattle audiences. Stan's association with Chaplin, which press notices mentioned frequently, had a double edged aspect. Early on the the association helped assure audiences of Stan's talents but it also drew obvious and sometimes unflattering comparisons between the two. In deed Stan's act at the time seems to have been more in line with the Chaplin style of comedy (more precisely the Karno style of comedy) than the type he would perfect in later collaborations with Oliver Hardy. Reviews of the 1917 production of 'Raffles the Dentist' tended to bear this out. Although he wasn't the headline attraction (a high wire act took that honor) Stan's sketch was greeted favourably. The Daily Times noted 'Laurel was not long ago the understudy for Chaplin and is an expert at the latter's kind of acrobatics' As a paIr Stan and Mae Laurel continued to tour for several years with their vaudeville act (which was eventually renamed 'No Mother to Guide Her') and they returned to Seattle on no fewer than three occasions at the Palace Hip in 1918 and the Pantages in 1919 and 1921. After leaving Hal Roach in 1940 Stan and Ollie performed in a special benefit for the Red Cross in a sketch written by Stan. They did a 4 month tour covering 12 cities starting on the 27th September in Omaha and ending in Buffalo in mid December. The show was called The Laurel and Hardy Revue with the Driving Licence sketch as the finale. In Buffalo they were given the key to the city. In 1941 they did a show at Camp Roberts, California Military Base for the Field Artillery troops appearing with Red Skelton, Jane Withers, Joan Leslie, Larry Adler and Chico Marx. The show was a great success for The Boys showing that they were still a great comedy team. Following the film Great Guns they joined The Flying Showboat, a revue that toured the U.S. military bases in the Caribbean for two weeks with John Garfield, Ray Bolger and Chico Marx with The Boys doing the Driving Licence sketch again. In 1942 after filming A Haunting We Will Go they joined The Hollywood Victory Caravan on a cross country fund raising tour with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, James Cagney, Groucho Marx, Cary Grant and many others. the tour called Hell -A - Balloo began in Washington D.C. at the end of March '42

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Stan made his stage debut at the sage of 7 in 'Lights of London, and at 15 toured Europe on his own as a song and dance act. In his teens her became an understudy to Charlie Chaplin with the Fred Karno Comedy Company in London, In 1910 the company sailed from Liverpool to America for an engagement .after which Stan stayed in America and 10 years later he met Oliver Hardy when they were cast in a 2 reel film, becoming a well known partnership that was loved all round the world and continues even now (2021} with branches of the 'Sons of the Desert' (their fan club) pretty much all round the world.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Stan attended the King James Grammar School in Bishop Auckland briefly as a boarder in 1902/03 but spent more time entertaining the teachers in the staff room so his father had him sent to Gainford Accademy for about a year, The King James School had stood empty and boarded up since about 2000 when 7 years later two youths, who were later caught, broke in and set it on fire, Despite the insurance company paying out the County Council did nothing costing them well over £600,000 a great deal more than the insurance payout. It's only now in 2021 that new housing is starting to be built on the site which will be called Laurel Court

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tonyman 5

Family (4)

Spouse Ida Kitaeva (6 May 1946 - 23 February 1965)  (his death)
Virginia Ruth Rogers (11 January 1941 - 30 April 1946)  (divorced)
Vera Ivanova Shuvalova (1 January 1938 - 1 February 1940)  (divorced)
Virginia Ruth Rogers (28 September 1935 - 31 December 1937)  (divorced)
Lois Nelson (23 August 1926 - 28 September 1935)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Lois Laurel
Parents Arthur J. Jefferson
Margaret Jefferson
Relatives Olga Healey (sibling)
Rand Brooks Jr. (grandchild)

Trade Mark (5)

Usually played a childishly innocent man who always looked up to his good friend Oliver Hardy, whether it was deserved or not. Common schticks included crying in cases of great predicaments, taking instructions literally at all times and mixing up his lines. He and Hardy often had a scene in their films where they would get into a fight with another person that consisted solely of destroying property. The duo would destroy something the opponent values while the opponent looks on and does not resist. When they are done, the opponent does the same to them, while they refrain from resisting, and so on.
Wide, "hanger-in-my-mouth" smile, spiky hair sported in all of his films, and of course, the "whiny face" for which he is famous.
Completely vacant stare into the camera, accentuated by white pancake makeup.
Gaze into the camera with arms up and palms out in a "What now?" gesture.
White magic.

Trivia (173)

His light blue eyes almost ended his movie career before it began. Until the early 1920s, filmmakers used black-and-white Orthochromatic film stock, which was "blue blind". Hal Roach cameraman George Stevens (who later become an acclaimed producer/director) knew of panchromatic film and was able to get a supply of it from Chicago. This new film was sensitive to blue and recorded Laurel's pale blue eyes in a more natural way. Stevens became Laurel's cameraman on his short films at Roach Studios. When Laurel teamed with Oliver Hardy, they made Stevens their cameraman of choice.
He had two children with his first wife, Lois: a daughter Lois Laurel (1927-2017); and a son, Stanley Robert (May 7, 1930-May 16, 1930), who was born two months prematurely.
Laurel first appeared with his future partner, Oliver Hardy, in The Lucky Dog (1921), which was filmed in 1919 and released in 1921.
He always thought that his "whining face" was humiliating. The public loved it, so the producers forced him to do it in most of his movies.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA.
According to his friends, he never fully recovered from Oliver Hardy's death.
He was a huge fan of westerns. After he became a success, his company, Stan Laurel Productions, financed a series of low-budget musical westerns starring singing cowboy Fred Scott. The films were made for and released by the independent Spectrum Pictures rather than Hal Roach Studios, which made Laurel's and Oliver Hardy's films, or MGM, which released them. The Scott westerns seldom, if ever, made any money, but Laurel's enthusiasm for them never waned. When his accountants showed him that they were getting to be a major drain on his finances, he reluctantly dropped them.
Subject on one of five 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating famous comedians, issued in booklet form 29 August 1991. He is shown with his partner Oliver Hardy. The stamp designs were drawn by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. The other comedians honored in the set are Edgar Bergen (with alter ego Charlie McCarthy); Jack Benny; Fanny Brice; and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
At the time of Oliver Hardy's death in 1957, Stan was too ill to attend his late partner's funeral.
Had said that out of all the impersonations done of him, he liked actor Dick Van Dyke's the best. Van Dyke even got to perform that impersonation on one of the episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and after it premiered, he called Laurel to ask his opinion. Laurel said he liked everything but one detail, the hat wasn't right. Van Dyke said he found Laurel's number in a Santa Monica, California phone book.
In Italy, Laurel and Hardy are known as "Stanlio e Ollio".
Entertainment Weekly voted him and comedy partner Oliver Hardy the 45th Greatest Movie Star of all time.
When Oliver Hardy died, Stan swore he would never perform comedy again. Over the next eight years, he repeatedly turned down a number of offers to do public appearances.
He fell off a platform and tore ligaments in his right leg while filming March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934).
An extra named John Wood from the film March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) sued him and his stunt double, Ham Kinsey, claiming back injuries after Laurel and Kinsey threw him in the ducking pond on the set. The lawsuit specified $40,500 in damages, but was settled out-of-court.
Jim Plunkett portrays him in Harlow (1965).
In his later years, he was a close friends with Dick Van Dyke. Dick delivered the eulogy at Stan's funeral.
Jerry Lewis was a big fan. When Lewis had his own production company in the early 1960s, he repeatedly tried to hire Stan for his creative team. Stan refused, despite the impressive salary. According to Lewis, he would send scripts to Stan, who would read them and write suggestions in the margins.
Matthew Cottle portrays him in Chaplin (1992).
Peter Sellers claimed that the "Laurel" character was his inspiration for the "gardener" character in Being There (1979).
While rarely credited as a writer or director, he was the driving creative force behind the team of Laurel and Hardy. Whenever Oliver Hardy was asked a question about a gag, story idea, or plot line, he always pointed to Laurel and said, "Ask Stan." Laurel often worked well into the night, writing and editing their films.
In his later years, he was arguably the most approachable of all movie stars, keeping his phone number in the phone book, welcoming all sorts of visitors, and responding to his fan mail personally.
Oliver Hardy was an inveterate golfer, often setting up a little putting green on the set so he could practice between takes. Laurel once joked to a reporter interviewing him that golf was Hardy's only "bad habit". When the reporter asked if he had any bad habits, Laurel, who had been married and divorced five times, replied, "Yes, and I married them.".
Suffered a stroke in June 1955.
Many sources say Stan was born in Ulverston, Cumbria. He was actually born in Ulverston, Lancashire. Ulverston became part of Cumbria in 1974, 2 years after England's Local Government Act of 1972.
On February 23, 1965, Laurel told his nurse he wouldn't mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she didn't know he was a skier. "I'm not," said Stan, "I'd rather be doing that than have all these needles stuck into me!" A few minutes later, the nurse looked in on him again and found that Stan had quietly passed away.
He was a heavy smoker until he suddenly gave up when he was about 70.
Laurel insisted that the quote attributed to him, "You know my hobbies; I married them all." was actually dreamed up by the publicity department.
Hal Roach Studio was smaller than the majors, the indoor sets were relatively close to each other, and the actors often visited other sets between takes. Matthew 'Stymie' Beard picked up Stan's Irish children's derby hat and wore it whenever Stan put it down. Stan eventually gave Stymie a hat, which became Stymie's trademark.
Stan removed the heels from his shoes while filming. It helped him accent his already humorous walk.
Stan's famous hairstyle was created by accident. He and Oliver Hardy had shaved their heads to play convicts in The Second 100 Years (1927). His hair grew back very unevenly and refused to stay down. Others on the Roach lot laughed, so Stan began to cultivate the new look. Offscreen, he combed it straight back, as did Hardy.
In Maurice Sendak's book "Mickey in the Night Kitchen," Mickey is a caricature of Stan Laurel, and the bakers are caricatures of Oliver Hardy.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
In Germany, Stan and Ollie were known as Dick und Doof.
In Holland, Stan and Ollie were known as Dikke und Dunne.
In Spain, Stan and Ollie were known as El Gordo y El Flaco.
David Jason is a big fan of Laurel and Hardy. When Jason put on weight after playing Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds of May (1991), he couldn't fit into a dinner jacket for the BAFTA Awards. He claimed he looked like Hardy wearing something belonging to Laurel.
Late in life, Stan Laurel faced financial difficulties because of his many ailments.
His brother Edward Jefferson appeared in small roles in Laurel's early films.
He is often thought of as being very short and skinny. He was actually around normal height (about 5' 8") and weight. Next to his partner, Oliver Hardy, who was about six feet tall and nearly double Stan's body weight, Stan appeared to be rather short and skinny by comparison.
Stan and Oliver Hardy made their first comic appearance in issue 46 of the American The Realm of Fun and Fiction in December 1929. In 1949 they had their own comic, produced by Jubilee publications and Archer St John Press. They made their first appearance in the center spread of the English comic Film Fun in issue 564, dated November 193, moved to the front page in March 1934, and remained there until 1957. In Italy it appeared in Bombolo in 1934 and Cine Comico, a film weekly. The same year, a rival company produced the Mastro Remo comic with them on the cover in a strip in color called Stan e Oli. In France in 1934, a color strip appeared in Cri-Cri. After WWII, an Italian publisher produced an all Laurel and Hardy comic called Criche e Croc.
When asked why he had his name and number in the telephone directory he's reputed to have said that "How would people find me if I didn't?" At the apartment block where he lived in later years, he even went down to the lobby to collect his mail rather than phone down and ask for it to be taken up to him.
In Alex Norton's television play Dramarama: Stan's First Night (1987), Paul Oldham played Stan, and William Hoyland played his father, Arthur.
Stan was instrumental in Marcel Marceau's career. After seeing Marceau perform in Paris in 1950, Stan praised him as an unsung genius and helped him gain attention in the French press.
He was educated at Bishop Auckland Grammar School (where he was often in the staff room entertaining the teachers), Gainford Academy (outside Darlington), and Queens Park Secondary School, Glasgow (New Victoria Infirmary now stands on the site).
Stan was not able to attend the Screen Actor's Guild Awards in 1963. Guild president Dana Andrews and second vice president Charlton Heston visited Stan at his home to present him with a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award 'For Outstanding Achievement in Fostering the Finest Ideals of the Acting Profession.' It was the second such award given. The first one went to comedian and former Guild president Eddie Cantor the previous year.
According to Movie Mirror (1933) Oliver Hardy bought the rights to their signature tune 'Cuckoo' from composer Marvin Hatley for $25. Stan said he thought it funny'.
When Stan Laurel died, Buster Keaton said 'Forget Chaplin. Stan was the greatest'.
In 1934, he and Hal Roach had a falling out over the script for March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934). Their close working relationship never recovered.
Outside of filming, Stan's interests were fishing, raising ducks, and hydroponic gardening (growing plants in chemical solutions rather than soil). He once cross-bred a potato and an onion, but couldn't get anyone to sample the results.
Stan was working as a writer and director for Leo McCarey when he was persuaded to take over Oliver Hardy 's role in a film after he'd burnt his arm while cooking a leg of lamb.
Jerry Lewis once offered Stan $100,000 to write for him on a part-time basis. Stan turned him down.
By the time they produced their first true Laurel and Hardy film, Stan was 37 and Oliver Hardy was 35.
When Stan's daughter, Lois, was little, she hated Oliver Hardy because she always saw him bullying her father in their films. It persuaded Stan to incorporate a revenge scene in One Good Turn (1931).
Abbott and Costello weren't getting what they wanted from the scriptwriters at Universal so would take the scripts to Stan for the three of them to work on together.
He and Charles Chaplin went to America in 1910 on a cattle boat and on arrival they shared a room in a boarding house.
One of Stan's favorite practical jokes was a trick toilet built into the bathroom of one of his homes. When flushed, the toilet sank into the floor.
As Arthur Stanley Jefferson, he joined Levy and Cardwell's Juvenile Pantomime Company as an assistant stage manager. By 1907 he had been promoted to actor. In a production of The Sleeping Beauty, he was promoted from supporting actor to be the featured comedian. The production included Wee Georgie Wood, who was 12.
When Stan wiggled his ears in films, he would be filmed with his ears as normal, then they would be held forward with putty or similar material and the camera restarted. The two sections would be joined together, then copied and joined many times for repetition. Filmed in slow motion then projected at normal speed, the ears would wave vigorously. That's why Stan's face is fixed in one position for a relatively long time. This wasn't a new technique for it had been discovered in 1896 by Georges Melies.
In 1934, he lived at 10353 Glenbarr Avenue, Cheviot Hills, California near the house that was featured in Big Business (1929). In January 2002 it was up for sale at $2,450,000.
Some titles of Laurel & Hardy films are subtly written into the dialogue of their other films. In 'Brats' Stan says "Blood's 'thicker than water'", 'Perfect Day' is mentioned in "Two Tars", 'Habeas Corpus' is mentioned in "The Big Noise", In "Saps at Sea" the Boys are repeatedly referred to as 'Jitterbugs' and in "The Flying Deuces" Ollie says 'I'm as fidgety as a 'jitterbug'. 'Scram is mentioned in "Chickens Come Home", 'The Big Noise' is mentioned in "Great Guns". In "Bonnie Scotland" Stan says "Why don't we go somewhere 'way out West'" and in that film Stan calls Fin a "toad (Towed) in the hole" 'From Soup to Nuts' is mentioned in "A Chump at Oxford" In "Tit For Tat" a written on a sign is 'Open for 'big business' which also comes up in "Pack Up Your Troubles" when someone says" He's not familiar with these 'big business' deals". In "Bonnie Scotland" Stan says to the landlady "You're 'darn tootin'" In "Sons of the Desert" Stan says "Oliver I want you to 'be big' and a conventioneer says "You know 'that's my wife'". In "Midnight Patrol" Ollie says" 'Pardon us' chief" During the scene with the safe in "The Dancing Masters" Stan says "'One good turn' deserves another". and Ollie says the same thing in "Babes in Toyland" and in "On the Wrong Trek" Bonita says "Here's 'another fine mess' you've gotten us into".
Charlotte Mae Dahlberg was part of a double act with Stan, and claimed that she gave Stan his surname. She was supposedly looking through a book and saw a picture of a Roman general with a laurel wreath on his head. Stan was superstitious, and his name had 13 letters in it, so he was more than happy to take up her suggestion of adopting the name of Laurel.
The first film Stan produced was Way Out West (1937), which was followed by Songs and Bullets (1938).
He bought a yacht in 1935 for $120,000 and renamed it Ruth L, after his then-wife. Later he renamed it Ida Mae after his last wife. In 1966 it was listed in the National Park Service, Department of Interior, as a Historic Ships to visit. It's also listed as a Large Historic Preserved Vessel in the Maritime Heritage Program.
Larry Harmon produced 156 episodes of A Laurel and Hardy Cartoon (1966). Harmon voiced Stan, and Jim MacGeorge voiced Ollie.
Before he left Ulverston, Stan was a founding member of Barrow Central Wheelers, a cycling club in Barrow in Furness, the biggest nearby town. He was the club's first time trial champion.
'M-G-M's Galaxy of Stars' was a promotional reel of scenes from films being released Europe in the 1935 -36 season. It begins and ends with scenes of Stan, Oliver Hardy, and James Finlayson. While their voices were dubbed into French, Ollie can be heard in his own voice saying 'Ooooh' and Finn saying 'Dooh!'.
An animated version of him and Oliver Hardy appear twice in The Merry Old Soul (1933).
King James Grammar School in Bishop Auckland, Durham, was seriously damaged by an arson attack in 2007. Over ten years later the ruins remain surrounded by scaffolding and tarpaulin sheets waiting for some kind of decision to be made on what to do with it.
His will signed in 1947 showed he had an estate worth $55,062.
His first short film, Nuts in May (1917), won him a contract with Universal. Soon after, his film career seemed to be at an end and he returned to vaudeville. Hal Roach, who made many of his films, let him go twice. By 1926, Stan had come to think that his true gift lay in writing and directing.
Stan and Ollie believed that they got most of their laughs by combining dumbness with dignity making the audience feel that they were superior to them.
Late in life, he met Alan Young and found out that their families lived near each other in North Shields, Tynemouth.
As a child in Glasgow, his family lived at 17 Craigmillar Road.
Stan's mother Margaret died 1st December 1908 and is buried in grave L203 in Cathcart Cemetary in Glasgow.
In 1896, when the Jeffersons were in North Shields, Stan's father was presented with with an entree dish engraved with "Presented to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Jefferson as a mark of esteem from the management and staff of the Theatre Royal, North Shields, Christmas 1896.
In 1905, the Jeffersons lived at 57 Buchanan Drive, Rutherglen, Glasgow. In 1908-1909 they lived at Craigmillar Road, Glasgow while Stan's father was running the Metropole Theatre.
Ray Bradbury, best known for his science fiction films, was a big fan of Stan and Oliver Hardy, attending Sons meetings when he could. He wrote a number of short stories about them including: The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair, The Laurel and Hardy Alpha Centauri Farewell Tour, and Another Fine Mess, which was set on the Music Box Steps.
In their films Stan wore a Bowler hat a size or two smaller so that it sat higher on his head. In the films where they mix up their hats Ollie wore a larger size than normal so that it would look humorously oversized on Stan while Stan's was substituted for an even smaller size to go on Ollie's head. Although they were identified with Bowlers they actually wore more other hats in their many films and when they were on their European tours they eagerly donned the appropriate national hat of the country they were in- Berets in Paris, Tam O Shanter in Scotland .After Ollie's death Stan never publicly wore another Bowler.
Stan and Oliver Hardy could go through a dozen hats in a month of filming. Although Stan wore a traditional bowler in their early films, he soon switched to a flat-brimmed hat. After Ollie died, Stan never publicly wore a bowler again. No photographs are known to exist of him in one from that time. His daughter, Lois, said that from the time he moved into the Oceanna apartment in the late 1950's he no longer owned one. Although The Boys were known for wearing Bowlers film for film they wore them less often than believed. Stan loved wearing different hats, and when they were on their theatre tours they would wear ones appropriate to the country they were in ex. berets in France, tam 'o' shanters in Scotland).
Before Stan paired up with Oliver Hardy, he was in groups including: Levy and Cardwell's Juvenile Panto, Fred Karno, Keystone Trio, Three Comique, Stan Jefferson Trio, Stan and Mae Laurel, and Bob Martini & Max Millian, a conjuring act in which assistant Max unintentionally exposed how the tricks were done. They parted company, but the act was so successful Bob found another partner, Stan, who later reworked the act with Ollie in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929).
8 Dockwray Square, North Shields, which was where Stan and and his family lived for a time, was demolished in the 60's and replaced by flats which were also demolished. The family moved from Dockwray Square to Ayton House in Ayres Terrace, North Shields.
The English manor-style home at 718 Bedford Dr. in Beverly Hills where he lived in the early 1930s is shown in Hollywood Mouth (2008).
He and Ollie were inducted into the British show business organisation The Grand Order of Water Rats on 30th March 1947.
Working relations between Stan Laurel and Hal Roach began to sour after the mid 1930s. They would engage in heated discussions that became arguments, until neither wanted to be in the same room as the other.
Laurel was quoted as saying that the one thing guaranteed to incur his anger, was if a film's editing was poorly done. For Laurel, that usually meant staying at the "Hal Roach" studios and carrying out the editing himself, not finishing till quite late.
Like most comedians, Stan Laurel lived and breathed comedy. He spent every day of his life in search of fresh ideas and inspiration.
Regretted not having more of a formal education, as the comedian felt that that would have made him a better comedian later on.
Like his comedy partner Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel was astounded at how popular they were when they arrived in England in 1932. In scenes resembling Beatlemania 30 years later, the comedy team were surrounded by screaming crowds everywhere they went. At one stage, someone tugged on a door of their limousine until it nearly came off.
Was rather reluctant about entering into a comedy partnership in 1927. As Laurel's career as a solo comedian hadn't been very successful, he was focusing more on being a gag writer and director. It took considerable effort before he agreed to team up with Oliver Hardy.
When young Laurel first took to the stage as a performer, he had no idea that his own father was watching him whilst being part of the audience.
Grew to despair working at "20th Century Fox" after having left the "Hal Roach" studios. The reason why neither Laurel or Hardy liked their time at the "Fox" studios, was because Laurel had been deprived of all creative output. Their films during this period, suffered accordingly.
Worked with Larry Semon on a couple of the latter's films and didn't enjoy the experience. Laurel found Semon to be a selfish performer, as he would steal whole scenes in a subtle and devious manner.
During his retirement years, Stan Laurel was visited at his home in Santa Monica by two fellow comedians and fans. They were Tony Hancock and Peter Sellers.
Away from work, Laurel admitted to not having many interests due to lack of time to enjoy them. However, he did enjoy fishing.
Many people over the years have assumed Laurel was a Democrat because he praised President John F. Kennedy in letters which are available to read on the Internet. According to his daughter, Laurel was largely apolitical and always supported whichever US president was in office.
Both Laurel and Hardy lost siblings to tragic accidents. Laurel's brother died under anesthesia while at the dentist; Hardy's brother drowned in a swimming mishap.
For his first professional stage appearance as a teenager, Stan took a pair of his father's pants, altered them with scissors, and took the stage. He was horrified to see "the Guv'ner" standing in the wings watching his performance. Fortunately the elder Laurel was please with Stan's turn, and no discipline was administered.
Although he is thought of as the Little Fellow, a phrase he used to describe his on screen character, at five feet eight Laurel was in fact taller than than Chaplin, Keaton, Langdon, and all of the Three Stooges and Marx Brothers. The height and weight of his partner, Oliver Hardy, contributed to his consideration as a smaller man.
While Stan Laurel was living out his remaining days at his Santa Monica apartment. He still received hefty amounts of fan mail. Jerry Lewis and Dick Van Dyke offered to hire a personal secretary at no cost to him to handle the load. To paraphrase, Stan replied, " Those letters are personal between my fans and Me!".
Surprisingly he has something in common with Rock and Roll singer BIll Haley in that Bill's mother, like Stan, was born in Ulverston, Cumbria, U.K.
Scottish actor Alex Norton wrote a television play 'Stan's First Night, screened 22 June 1987, in which Stan was played by Paul Oldham and his father by William Hoyland.
After their appearance on This Is Your Life The Boys were contracted by Hal Roach to star in a series of hour long TV specials but they were never made.
Unlike his on screen comedy partner, Laurel insisted upon answering his own fan mail personally.
The comedian was openly opposed to racial segregation.
Admitted to disliking the humor of the Marx Brothers, finding it too suggestive.
Stan's Ear Wiggles. He'd be filmed with his ears as normal then they'd be held forward with putty or some similar material and the camera restarted. Editing the two sequences together they would then be copied and joined many times. With the filming having been done in slow motion. when projected at normal speed his ears would seem to wave vigorously which would be why Stan's face is fixed in one position for a relatively long time in a scene as in A Chump at Oxford. . This wasn't a new technique for it had been discovered in 1896 by Georges Melies.
As a boy his early education took place at a kindergarten in a house in Dockwray Square, North Shields, near to where his family lived, a private school in Tynemouth College, a boarding school Stan said he thought this was because he was always getting into mischief and trouble at home.
When Stan and Charlie Chaplin moved to America they shared a room in a boarding house.
Way Out West (1937) was the first film to be produced by Stan Laurel.
Peter Sellers talking about the voice he used for Chance the gardener in 'Being There' " ........very clear enunciation, slightly American with a touch of Stan Laurel mixed in".
He appeared in Sleeping Beauty at Oldham Coliseum. [1902]
Stan was only the second honoree to receive a Screen Actors Guild Award for their contribution to entertainment.
It's thought that actor Douglas Gordon came up with the gag of Stan Laurel lighting his thumb in the film Way Out West.
Cartoon images of Stan and Ollie were used in the cartoon Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Merry Old Soul.
He didn't find out until he met actor Alan Young late in life that their families lived near each other in North Shields, Tynemouth. As children Alan Young's father and an aunt ran away from home to audition for Stan's father in Glasgow.
Nuts in May won him a contract with Universal but not long after his film career seemed to be at an end and he returned to vaudeville.
Hal Roach let him go twice.
By 1926 he'd come to think that his true gift was in writing and directing instead of performing comedy.
Following his appearance with Ollie on 'This is Your Life' Hal Roach contracted them to star in a series of hour long TV specials but they were never made.
He and Ollie were contracted by Hal Roach Jr to star in a series of TV specials but they were never made.
In 1928 Stan and Ollie appeared in the short film 'A Pair of Tights' but their scenes were deleted.
Stan Laurel was presented with the Annual Screen Actors Guild award 'for outstanding achievement in foster the finest ideals of the acting profession and advancing the principles of good citizenship.' ".
The British actor Sir Alec Guinness was a great admirer of Stan's.
Was an admirer of James Finlayson, Billy Gilbert, Oliver Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Jack Benny and Dick Van Dyke.
Throughout his career, Laurel refused to include anything resembling salacious humor.
Was known to play practical jokes on unsuspecting crew members on a film set.
Charlotte Mae Dahlberg (Dahlberg was her maiden name) was part of a double act with Stan and claimed that she gave Stan his surname. She was supposedly looking through a book and saw a picture of a Roman general with a laurel wreath on his head. As Stan was superstitious and his name had 13 letters in it he was more than happy to take up her suggestion of adopting the name of Laurel.
In the film Sons of the Desert the newsreel footage seen in the cinema the wives go to set a record for the number of extras used in one scene, some 500. This was of the marching sons along the studios back lot New York street set Originally the Sons were to be on bicycles with the Boys riding into a banner which wraps itself around the other cyclists causing some to end up in a fountain,.
At the boxing match in the film Battle of the Century when Stan gets knocked out Oliie collapses. Look carefully and you'll no doubt have to freeze frame it but the spectator 2nd on Ollies right is Lou Costello.
The film The Great Race was dedicated to Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy by director Blake Edwards because it contained a pie fight and because he loved comedy and L&H.
After his 1938 marriage to nightclub singer/dancer Illeana Shuvalova, he was constantly harassed by former wife Virginia Ruth Rogers.
Billy Wilder planned on doing a film with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in the 1950s. The film would have opened with each of them sleeping in one of the letter O's of the Hollywood sign. The plot centered on a woman coming between them. The project was aborted owing to Ollie's failing health.
A mural of Stan has been painted on an end terrace house in Railway Street on Bishop Auckland (2021).
He has appeared in four films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: The Battle of the Century (1927), Big Business (1929), The Music Box (1932), & Sons of the Desert (1933).
His old school in Bishop Auckland is in process of being demolished (early 2021) and in it place will be built old peoples homes which will be called Laurel Court.
On a call sheet for 'A Pair of Tights' (1929) that was discovered in 2012 and would have been issued to the cast and production personnel the day before filming, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are listed. This makes it highly likely that Stan and Ollie filmed their part, which was subsequently deleted before the films release.
Film director Ray Bradbury, best known for his science fiction films was a big fan of Stan and Ollie attending Sons meetings when he could and wrote a number of short stories about them including - The Laurel and Hardy Love Affair, The Laurel and Hardy Alpha Centauri Farewell Tour, and Another Fine Mess, which was set on the Music Box Steps.
There have been more than 40 versions of Stevenson's classic tale but the one that eclipses them all for ingenuity is Dr Pyckle and Mr Pride (1925) a two reeler in which Stan Laurel creates a brilliant parody of John Barrymore's 1920 performance.
He and Ollie had trouble with dentists in Flying Elephants, Leave 'Em Laughing and Pardon Us, trouble with landlords in Angora Love, They Go Boom, Leave 'Em Laughing, Laughing Gravy and The Chimp and were in prison in The Hoosegow, Liberty, The Second Hundred Years, Pardon Us and Flying Deuces.
He and Ollie played twins in 3 films: Brats, Our Relations and Twice Two. They were sailors in Men 'o War, Two Tars, Why Girls Love Sailors,' Sailors Beware, The Live Ghost, Any Old Port, Our Relations Men O' War and Saps at Sea, and in the army in Great Guns and With Love and Hisses.
He and Ollie had trouble with landlords in Angora Love, They Go Boom, Leave 'em, Laughing, The Chimp and Laughing Gravy, with police in Night Owls, Bacon Grabbers, Unaccustomed As We Are, Finishing Touch, The Hoosegow, Below Zero, Pardon Us, Midnight Patrol, Tit For Tat, Saps at Sea, Big Business Leave 'em Laughing, Double Whoopee and with doctors in Thicker Than Water, County Hospital, Saps at Sea, and Them Thar Hills.
Five of their silent films were remade as talkies Love; Em and Weep (1927) as Chickens Come Home (1931), Duck Soup (1927) as Another Fine Mess (1930), Hats Off (1927) as The Music Box (1932) Slipping Wives (1927) as The Fixer Uppers (1935) and Angora Love (1929 as Laughing Gravy (1931).
Around 1940 there was talk of Stan and Ollie starring in a Technicolor film 'The Red Mill; based on the 1906 Victor Herbert operetta.
Regarding stories of their supposed split in 1940, Stan said that his contract ran out 3 months before Ollies so Stan refused to re-sign until Ollies contract came up for renewal, then they both signed together.
He died of a heart attack at his Santa Monica home, out living Ollie by 8 years.
He made his stage debut at the age of 7 in 'Lights of London' and at 15 toured Europe on his own doing a song sand dance act then became an understudy to Charlie Chaplin in the Fred Karno Company. In 1910 the company sailed to America for a tour after which Stan stayed on and eventually met Ollie when they were cast in the same film,.
A statue of Stan stands on or near the site of his father's theatre at what is known as Theatre Corner in Bishop Auckland, The statue was created, appropriately by Bob Olley, who also did the one of him in North Shield, and was unveiled by Stan's niece Nancy Wardell.
A plaque on 66 Princes Street in Bishop Auckland put up by the Civic Society a good few years ago states that Stan lived there but since then research has proved that to be wrong as it's now known that while his parents lived there his mother went back to her parents in Ulverston to give birth to him. As he was a sickly baby she left him there and returned to Bishop to help her husband run his theatres. There is a plaque in St Peters Church commemorating that he was re baptised there when his sister Beatrice was baptised in October 1891 having been born in nearby Waldron Street. The family later moved to North Shields as his father had a number of theatres in that area.
A large mural of Stan's head has been put on the side of a terraced house in Railway Terrace in Bishop Auckland.
The old school that he attended briefly in Bishop Auckland is being demolished (as at August 2021) and aged peoples homes built on the site which will be named Laurel Court with a plaque commemorating Stan put at the entrance.
Stan was quickly christened in Ulverston, where he was born, as he wasn't expected to live. He was then rechristened in Bishop Auckland in October 1891 in St Peters Church when his sister Beatrice was christened. There is a plaque commemorating the fact, at which time the family were living at 66 Waldron Street, which also has a plaque on it.
His father was a theatre manager who ran a number of theatres in small towns North of Newcastle ,.
AJ, Stan's father moved to Bishop Auckland in 1885 and with a Thomas Thorne took over the Theatre Royal, eventually he bought Thorne out rebuilt the theatre and named it The Eden Theatre. In 1897 the family moved to North Shields which was closer to the centre of AJ's small theatre empire.
The actor Sir Alec Guinness was a big admirer of him.
Addressing stories of his split with Ollie Stan told reporters that he felt the story started when Babe appeared in the film Zenobia without him, In 1940 Stan stated that his contract ran out three months before Ollie's, The studio used Ollie during those 90 days and the impression got round that we'd split ,As soon as the Roach contract set up was liquidated we re -united and we intend to remain a team and good friends, He also said that he and Babe would soon be starring in a Technicolor film 'The Red Mill based on the Victor Herbert operetta from 1906, which of course never happened,.
Stan and Ollie were involved with cars in Perfect Day, Two Tars, Leave 'Em Laughing, Hog Wild, Stolen Jewels ,One Good Turn, County Hospital, Blockheads, Hoosegow, Big Business and Saps at Sea.
A number of their films were remade Lov 'Em and Weep(1921) was remade as Chickens Come Home (1931) Duck Soup {1927) became Another Fine Mess (1930). Hats Off (1927) became The Music Box (1932) Slipping Wives (1927) became The Fixer UIppers (1935) and Angora Love (1929) turned into Laughing Gravy (1931).
Doctors become involved in Thicker Than Water, County Hospital, .Saps at Sea, Them Thar Hills, Sons of the Desert and Dancing Masters,.
They were in uniform in With Love and Hisses, Bonnie Scotland, Block Heads, Great Guns and Pack up Your Troubles (army), Two Tars and Men 'O War (sailors), Flying Deuces and Beau Hunks (Foreign Legion) Midnight Patrol (Police Officers) and Douible Whoopee (Hotel doormen).
Musical instruments are involved in You're Darn Tootin, Below Zero Saps at Sea, The Music Box,, Wrong Again, Call of the Cuckoos, Swiss Miss, Another Fine Mess, Dirty Work, Night Owls,, Dirty Work and Big Business.
A number of films were remade Love 'Em and Weep became Chickens Come Home, Duck Soup became Another Fine Mess and the long lost Hats off became The Music Box, Slipping Wives turned into The Fixer Uppers and Angora Love became Laughing Gravy , In other cases particular routine were reused such as the dentist sequence in Leave 'Em Laughing turned up in Pardon Us.
From 1937 to 1950 Stan's sister Olga and her husband ran the pub The Plough Inn in Barkston before taking the lease of The Bull Inn at Bottesford The Plough became the home of Stan's father (AJ) following his retirement from the theatre in 1940, AJ died in 1949 and is buried in the local cemetery.
When Stan and Ollie arrived in England back in the 40's they said it was their intention while here to make a film which was to be based on Robin Hood with Stan playing Little John Laurel and Ollie would be Friar Hardy.
Stan's father Arthur Jefferson, or AJ as he was known as, was a prominent theatrical figure in the North East of England. He had learnt the full craft of the stage from being an actor playwright and a manager progressing to leasing and managing a string of theatres. In 1940, following the death of his wife, he took his final bow and retired going to live with Olga and her husband at the Plough Inn at Barkston.
The trick of Stan lighting his thumb was done by him wearing a false thumb. He would go through the motion of flicking a lighter with his thumb, the camera would be stopped and he would then be fitted with a false thumb with the end filled with padding soaked in lighter fluid. The thumb would then be lit and the cameras restarted.
In his prison cell scenes in The Flying Deuces (1939) Stan's playing of the mattress frame like a harp was dubbed by Harpo Marx.
Stan and Ollie were involved with cars in Perfect Day, Two Tars, Leave 'Em Laughing, Hog Wild, Stolen Jewels, One Good Turn, County Hospital, Blockheads, Hoosegow, Big Business and Saps at Sea.
They got drunk in Blotto, Scram, Them Thar Hills, The Fixer Uppers and Them Tha Hills.
Of the all the many films Stan made with Oliver Hardy 12 involved some form of animation. These were Lucky Dog in which Stan sees stars, Flying Elephants, which are seen, With Love and Hisses involved flying bees ,In The Finishing Touch a bird lands on a chimney while at the end,of Brats theres a mouse and there's,a cat in 45 Minutes to Hollywood, Animated sparks are flying in Hog Wild, giant marching soldiers in Babes in Toyland, the pipe organ bubbles in Swiss Miss, Ollies neck is stretched in Way Out West, bee attack in Bonnie Scotland and there is a talking recruitment poster in Air Raid Wardens.
A child of one of his baby sitters was the great grandmother of Sir Patrick Stewart.
When they were children Stan and comedy actor Alan Young;s families lived near each other in North Shields.

Personal Quotes (16)

If any of you cry at my funeral, I'll never speak to you again!
A friend once asked me what comedy was. That floored me. What is comedy? I don't know. Does anybody? Can you define it? All I know is that I learned how to get laughs, and that's all I know about it. You have to learn what people will laugh at, then proceed accordingly.
[on Oliver Hardy's death] The world has lost a comic genius. I've lost my best friend.
Crazy humor was always my type of humor, but it's the quiet kind of craziness I like. The rough type of nut humor like The Marx Brothers I could never go for.
[about the eight films he and Oliver Hardy made at 20th Century-Fox in the 1940s] We had no say on those films, and it sure looked it.
What business do we have telling people who to vote for? They probably know more about it than we do.
[on Dick Van Dyke] Dick is a very clever comic, very talented, he does resemble me facially but thats about all, firstly, he is much taller and his mannerisms are entirely his own style. I enjoyed very much meeting him, a very interesting chap.
[on the death of Oliver Hardy] Ben Shipman called me the day before and told me Babe had taken a turn for the worse and the end was expected any hours, even knowing this, the final news came as a shock to me. However, I think it was a blessing - poor fellow must have been really suffering (they discovered recently he had a bad cancer condition), so under the circumstances there was no hope of his ever recovering. What a tragic end to such a wonderful career.
[on Charles Chaplin] Just the greatest.
[on a comic he refused to name] Very funny when he's not being dirty. I can't stand him.
People have always loved our pictures. I guess that's because they saw how much love we put into them.
[on Oliver Hardy] He really is a very funny fellow, isn't he?
I don't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with Charles Chaplin.
[about the trip he and Oliver Hardy] took to Ireland in 1953] The love and affection we found that day at Cobh was simply unbelievable. There were hundreds of boats blowing whistles and mobs and mobs of people screaming on the docks. We just couldn't understand what it was all about. And then something happened that I can never forget. All the church bells in Cobh started to ring out our theme song "Dance of the Cuckoos" and Babe [Oliver Hardy] looked at me and we cried. I'll never forget that day. Never.
What's there to say? It's shocking of course. Ollie was like a brother. That's the end of the history of Laurel and Hardy.
[on his working relationship with Oliver Hardy] There was never any disagreement between us, ever. Everything I did was tops with him.

Salary (4)

The Devil's Brother (1933) $3,500 /week
The Midnight Patrol (1933) $3,500 /week
Bonnie Scotland (1935) $80,000
Our Relations (1936) $80,000

See also

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