Biography Stan Laurel, Laurel Hardy - Their Lives and Magic, 50 Greatest Comedy Catchphrases

Stan Laurel filmography and biography

Date of birth: 16 June 1890, Ulverston, Cumbria, England, UK

Date of death: 23 February 1965, Santa Monica, California, USA (heart attack)

Stan Laurel biography

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 (not released until 1918). There followed a number of shorts for Metro, Hal Roach (I) Studios, then Universal, then back to Roach in 1926. His first two-reeler with Oliver Hardy was 45 Minutes from Hollywood. Their first release through MGM was Sugar Daddies and the first with star billing was From Soup to Nuts. Their first feature-length starring roles were in Pardon Us. 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 except for a dismal failure made in France several years later (Atoll K). In 1960 he was given a special Oscar "for his creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy". He died five years later. Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on the 16th of June in Ulverston, Cumbria 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 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' , Larry Semon, and Hal Roach (I). 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 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 and Wandering Papas 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. Marys and Going My Way, 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 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.

Stan Laurel trivia

- 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 (I) cameraman George Stevens (I) (the same George Stevens who would 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. When Laurel teamed with Oliver Hardy, the team made Stevens their cameraman of choice.
- Only son died 9 days after birth in 1930.
- Laurel first appeared with his future partner, Oliver Hardy, in The Lucky Dog, which was filmed in 1919, but not released until 1921.
- He always thought that his "whining face" was humiliating, but the producers forced him to do it in most of his movies since the public loved it.
- Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA.
- Suffered a nervous breakdown on the death of his long time film partner and friend, Oliver Hardy, and according to his friends, never fully recovered.
- Turned down a cameo part in Stanley Kramer''s gigantic farce Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
- He had always been a fan of westerns, and after he became a success, his company, Stan Laurel Productions, financed a series of low-budget musical westerns starring singing cowboy Fred Scott (I). 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 until his accountants showed him that they were getting to be a major drain on his finances, at which time he reluctantly dropped his participation.
- 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 (I).
- Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.
- He and Mae Laurel lived as a common-law couple, as Mae was legally married to someone in her native Australia when she met Stan in 1918. They parted in 1925 by mutual consent and Mae returned to Australia.
- 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 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, CA, phone book.
- His and Oliver Hardy's films had and still have great success in Italy, where they are known as "Stallio and Ollio.".
- He was voted, along with comedy partner Oliver Hardy, the 45th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
- The death of his partner Oliver Hardy left him a broken man, so much so that he fell into a deep depression and swore never to do comedy again. He didn't. In the eight years between Hardy's death and his own, he repeatedly turned down offers to do public appearances.
- He and Oliver Hardy have been and continue to be very popular in Germany under the name of "Dick und Doof" (Fatty and Stupid).
- Father of Lois Laurel, who appeared with him in The Chimp.
- Fell off a platform and tore ligaments in his right leg during the filming of Babes in Toyland.
- An extra named John Wood (II) from the film Babes in Toyland 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.
- Is portrayed by Jim Plunkett (I) in Harlow (1965/II).
- Dick Van Dyke delivered the eulogy at Laurel's funeral.
- He was greatly admired by Jerry Lewis (I). 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.
- Portrayed by Matthew Cottle in Chaplin.
- Stan was greatly admired by Peter Sellers. Sellers claimed that the "Laurel" character was his inspiration when he created the "gardener" character in Being There.
- While rarely credited as a writer or director, he was the driving creative force behind the team of he and Oliver Hardy--whenever Hardy was asked a question about a gag, story idea, plot line, etc., 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.
- His partner Oliver Hardy was an inveterate golfer, often setting up his own 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.
- Although Stan is recorded as being born in Ulverston Cumbria, he never knew it. He was actually born in Ulverston Lancashire. Ulverston became part of Cumbria under the 'Local Government Act 1972' and became part of Cumbria two years later in 1974; nine years after Stan died.
- A comedian until the very last, Stan Laurel, just minutes away from death on February 23, 1965, told his nurse he would not mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she was not aware that 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 staunch Democrat.
- In his later years he was a close friend of Dick Van Dyke.
- He was a heavy smoker until he suddenly gave up when he was about seventy.
- Laurel insisted that the quote attributed to him, "You know my hobbies; I married them all" was actually dreamed up by the publicity department.

Stan Laurel quotes

- 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.
- 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 Dick Van Dyke
- [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.

Stan Laurel filmography

Name Year
Laurel & Hardy - Their Lives and Magic 2011
50 Greatest Comedy Catchphrases 2008
Hoge bomen: Pioniers 2007
Laurel & Hardy: The Fox Years 2006
Silent Clowns 2006
Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters 2006
Comedy Heroes 2005
Laurel & Hardy: Hat's Off 2005
The Comedians' Comedian 2005
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust 2004
Living Famously 2002
The 20th Century: A Moving Visual History 1999
The 71st Annual Academy Awards 1999
Laurel & Hardy U.K. Tours 1995
Hart Van Nederland 1995
On the Trail of the Comedy Mine: A History of Stan Laurel 1994
Before the Bowler: Stan's Early Life 1994
Room 101 1994
That's Entertainment! III 1994
Nova 1992
Funny Business 1992
A Tribute to the Boys: Laurel and Hardy 1992
Legends of Comedy 1992
Tango Bar 1988
The Revenge of the Sons of the Desert 1987
The Laurel and Hardy Show 1986
Classic Comedy Teams 1986
Cocoon 1985
Muppet Babies 1984
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey 1984
Historia del cine: Epoca muda 1983
Dance of the Cookoos 1982
Brooklyn Bridge 1981
The Hollywood Clowns 1979
Funny Business 1978
America at the Movies 1976
That's Entertainment, Part II 1976
Hooray for Hollywood 1975
Laurel und Hardy auf der Jagd nach dem Mammon 1973
Clapper Board 1972
4 Clowns 1970
Dick und Doof, die Unzertrennlichen 1968
The Further Perils of Laurel and Hardy 1968
The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy 1967
Omnibus 1967
Salute to Stan Laurel 1965
Laurel and Hardy's Laughing 20's 1965
Zebra in the Kitchen 1965
The Big Parade of Comedy 1964
Top of the Pops 1964
30 Years of Fun 1963
Fractured Flickers 1963
Hollywood Without Make-Up 1963
Nickelodeon Days 1962
Days of Thrills and Laughter 1961
The DuPont Show of the Week 1961
When Comedy Was King 1960
The Golden Age of Comedy 1957
One Moment Please 1956
The Steve Allen Show 1956
Double Trouble 1953
Screen Snapshots: Memories of Famous Hollywood Comedians 1952
This Is Your Life 1952
Ça c'est du cinéma 1951
¡Qué tiempos aquéllos! 1951
Atoll K 1951
The Bullfighters 1945
Nothing But Trouble 1944
The Big Noise 1944
The Tree in a Test Tube 1943
Jitterbugs 1943
The Dancing Masters 1943
Air Raid Wardens 1943
The Autobiography of a 'Jeep' 1943
A-Haunting We Will Go 1942
Great Guns 1941
A Chump at Oxford 1940
Saps at Sea 1940
The Flying Deuces 1939
Block-Heads 1938
Swiss Miss 1938
Way Out West 1937
Pick a Star 1937
The Bohemian Girl 1936
On the Wrong Trek 1936
Our Relations 1936
The Fixer Uppers 1935
Tit for Tat 1935
Thicker Than Water 1935
Bonnie Scotland 1935
Going Bye-Bye! 1934
The Live Ghost 1934
Oliver the Eighth 1934
Them Thar Hills 1934
Hollywood Party 1934
Babes in Toyland 1934
Busy Bodies 1933
Twice Two 1933
The Midnight Patrol 1933
Wild Poses 1933
Me and My Pal 1933
The Devil's Brother 1933
Sons of the Desert 1933
Dirty Work 1933
Towed in a Hole 1932
Their First Mistake 1932
The Music Box 1932
Zwei Ritter ohne Furcht und Tadel 1932
The Chimp 1932
Helpmates 1932
Scram! 1932
Pack Up Your Troubles 1932
Any Old Port! 1932
County Hospital 1932
Sous les verrous 1931
Muraglie 1931
Hinter Schloss und Riegel 1931
Glückliche Kindheit 1931
Our Wife 1931
Los calaveras 1931
Les carottiers 1931
One Good Turn 1931
Chickens Come Home 1931
Be Big! 1931
Beau Hunks 1931
Laughing Gravy 1931
Come Clean 1931
Pardon Us 1931
The Slippery Pearls 1931
On the Loose 1931
Politiquerías 1931
Los presidiarios 1931
Radiomanía 1930
Hog Wild 1930
Brats 1930
Feu mon oncle 1930
Une nuit extravagante 1930
La vida nocturna 1930
Blotto 1930
Below Zero 1930
Night Owls 1930
Another Fine Mess 1930
The Rogue Song 1930
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case 1930
Spuk um Mitternacht 1930
Noche de duendes 1930
Tiembla y Titubea 1930
Ladrones 1930
Unaccustomed As We Are 1929
They Go Boom! 1929
Big Business 1929
Double Whoopee 1929
The Hoose-Gow 1929
Wrong Again 1929
Perfect Day 1929
Men O'War 1929
Liberty 1929
Berth Marks 1929
Angora Love 1929
Bacon Grabbers 1929
That's My Wife 1929
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 1929
The Finishing Touch 1928
Early to Bed 1928
Flying Elephants 1928
From Soup to Nuts 1928
Should Tall Men Marry? 1928
Leave 'Em Laughing 1928
We Faw Down 1928
Two Tars 1928
You're Darn Tootin' 1928
Habeas Corpus 1928
Their Purple Moment 1928
Should Married Men Go Home? 1928
Eve's Love Letters 1927
Slipping Wives 1927
Now I'll Tell One 1927
Call of the Cuckoo 1927
Seeing the World 1927
Sailors Beware 1927
Love 'Em and Weep 1927
With Love and Hisses 1927
Hats Off 1927
The Second 100 Years 1927
Putting Pants on Philip 1927
Do Detectives Think? 1927
Duck Soup 1927
Why Girls Love Sailors 1927
The Battle of the Century 1927
Sugar Daddies 1927
Get 'Em Young 1926
What's the World Coming To? 1926
On the Front Page 1926
45 Minutes from Hollywood 1926
Twins 1925
Half a Man 1925
Cowboys Cry for It 1925
Dr. Pyckle and Mr. Pryde 1925
The Snow Hawk 1925
The Sleuth 1925
Pie-Eyed 1925
Navy Blue Days 1925
Somewhere in Wrong 1925
West of Hot Dog 1924
Monsieur Don't Care 1924
Mandarin Mix-Up 1924
Detained 1924
Short Kilts 1924
Zeb vs. Paprika 1924
Wide Open Spaces 1924
Smithy 1924
Rupert of Hee Haw 1924
Postage Due 1924
Near Dublin 1924
Brothers Under the Chin 1924
The Garage 1923
Save the Ship 1923
The Handy Man 1923
White Wings 1923
Roughest Africa 1923
The Noon Whistle 1923
Scorching Sands 1923
Pick and Shovel 1923
Frozen Hearts 1923
Under Two Jags 1923
Oranges and Lemons 1923
Kill or Cure 1923
Gas and Air 1923
A Man About Town 1923
When Knights Were Cold 1923
The Whole Truth 1923
The Soilers 1923
Short Orders 1923
Mother's Joy 1923
Collars and Cuffs 1923
The Egg 1922
The Weak-End Party 1922
Mud and Sand 1922
The Pest 1922
Mixed Nuts 1922
The Lucky Dog 1921
Hustling for Health 1919
Do You Love Your Wife? 1919
Hoot Mon! 1919
Who's Zoo? 1918
O, It's Great to Be Crazy 1918
Frauds and Frenzies 1918
Just Rambling Along 1918
Hickory Hiram 1918
Phoney Photos 1918
Huns and Hyphens 1918
Bears and Bad Men 1918
No Place Like Jail 1918
Nuts in May 1917