Stan Laurel, Talk:Stan Laurel
, Filmography of Stan Laurel
Arthur Stanley Jefferson
– February 23
), better known as Stan Laurel
was a comic actor, writer and director, famous as part of the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy
, whose career stretched from the silent films of the early 20th Century until post-World War II
Laurel was born in Ulverston
, but spent most of his early life in the North East of England, particularly North Shields
, where he lived from 1897 to 1902, and Bishop Auckland
, County Durham
, between 1902 and 1905. His parents Arthur and Madge (Margaret) were both active in the theatre and Laurel's home life was a happy one. In his early years, he spent much time living with his grandmother Sarah Metcalfe, as his father managed a number of different theatres. Laurel had a natural affinity for the theatre, with his first professional performance on stage at the age of sixteen. In 1910
, he joined Fred Karno
's troupe of actors, which also included a young Charlie Chaplin
. For some time, Laurel acted as Chaplin's understudy
. The Karno troupe toured America, and brought both Chaplin and Laurel to the United States for the first time. From 1916 to 1918, he teamed up with Alice
and Baldwin Cooke
, who become lifelong friends. In 1918, Laurel appeared briefly with Oliver Hardy in a silent movie short A Lucky Dog
It was also around this time that Laurel met Mae Dahlberg
who was to have a great impact on his life. Also around this time, Stan adopted the stage name of Laurel, at Dahlberg's suggestion. The pair were performing together when Laurel was offered $75.00 per week to star in two-reel comedies. After the making of his first film, Nuts in May
offered him a contract. The contract was short-lived, however, and was cancelled during a reorganization at the studio.
By 1924, Laurel had forsaken his stage career to work full time in films, now under contract with Joe Rock
. The contract called for Laurel to make twelve two-reel comedies. The contract also had one unusual stipulation, that Dahlberg was not to appear in any of the films. It was felt that her temperament was hindering his career. In 1925, when she started interfering with Laurel's work, Rock offered her a cash settlement and a one-way ticket back to her native Australia, which she accepted. In 1926, he married his first wife, Lois Nielson.
He was also good friends with James Finlayson before Laurel and Hardy appeared.
Laurel and Hardy
:Main article: Laurel and Hardythumb|220px|Laurel and Hardy appeared for the first time in color in the [The Rogue Song (1930).
Laurel went on to join the Hal Roach
studio, and began directing films, including a 1926 production called Yes, Yes, Nanette
. It was his intention to work primarily as a writer and director, but fate stepped in. In 1927, Oliver Hardy
, another member of the Hal Roach Studios Comedy All Star
players, was injured in a kitchen mishap and Stan was asked to return to the front of the cameras. Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping Wives
, Duck Soup
and With Love and Hisses
. It soon became obvious that the two men had a certain comic onscreen chemistry. Roach Studios' supervising director Leo McCarey
noticed the audience reaction to the two and had begun intentionally teaming them together, leading to the creation of the Laurel and Hardy
series late that year.
Together, the two men began producing a huge body of short movies, including The Battle of the Century
, Should Married Men Go Home?
, Two Tars
, Be Big!
, Big Business
, and many others. Laurel and Hardy successfully made the transition to talking films with the short Unaccustomed As We Are
in 1929. In the same year they appeared in their first feature in one of the revue sequences of Hollywood Revue of 1929
and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-color (in Technicolor
) musical feature entitled: The Rogue Song
. In 1931, they made their first full length movie (in which they were the leading stars), Pardon Us
although they continued to make features and shorts until 1935, including their 1932 three-reeler The Music Box
which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject
Trouble at Roach Studio
During the 1930s, Laurel was involved in a dispute with Hal Roach
and ended up having his contract terminated. After undergoing a trial over drunk-driving charges, he counter-sued the Roach studio. Eventually, the case was dropped and Stan returned to Roach. Meanwhile, Laurel had divorced his first wife and married Virginia Ruth Rogers in 1935, whom he divorced to marry his third wife Vera Ivanova Shuvalova ("Illeana") in 1938. However, by 1941, he had once again married Virginia Ruth Rogers.
After returning to Roach studios, the first film Laurel and Hardy
made was A Chump at Oxford
. Their followup title, The Flying Deuces
is one of their most famous movies. After that, they made Saps at Sea
, which was the last film under Roach's employment. In April 1940
, their contract expired.
, Laurel and Hardy
signed a contract at 20th Century Fox
to make one motion picture and nine more over the following five months. During the war years their work became more standardised and less successful. Stan discovered he had diabetes
, so he encouraged Oliver Hardy to make two movies without him. In 1946, he divorced Virginia Ruth Rogers and married Ida Kitaeva Raphael. With Ida, they enjoyed a happy marriage until his death. In 1950
, they were asked to make a film in France
. The film, Utopia
(also released as Atoll K
), was a disaster. The script was poor, and both stars were noticeably ill during the filming. When they returned home, they spent most of their time recovering. In 1952
, Laurel and Hardy did another tour of Europe
. This tour was very successful and they toured Europe again in 1953
During this tour, Stan fell ill and was unable to perform for several weeks. In May 1954
, Oliver Hardy had a heart attack that made them call off the tour. In 1955
, they were planning to do a television series, The Fable of Laurel and Hardy
, based on children's stories. However, the plans were delayed because Stan suffered a stroke
. He recovered and just when he was planning to get back to work, Oliver Hardy had a massive stroke
on 15 September 1956
. He was paralyzed and stayed in bed for several months unable to speak or move.
On August 7
, Oliver Hardy died. Due to his own poor health, Stan did not attend his funeral, stating "Babe would understand". After that, Stan decided he would never act again without his long-time friend, but he did write gags and sketches for fellow comedians. People who knew Laurel said he was absolutely devastated by Hardy's death and never fully recovered. On one occasion following Hardy's passing, a casual fan mistook Laurel for his late partner. "Aren't you Oliver Hardy?" the fan asked. Laurel obliged, claiming he was indeed Oliver Hardy. The fan then asked whatever happened to "the other guy". Laurel tellingly replied "Oh him? He went barmy."
Life after Laurel and Hardy
In 1961, Laurel won a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award
for his pioneering work in the field of comedy. He had achieved his lifelong dream as a comedian and had been involved in nearly 190 movies. He spent his final years living in a small apartment in the Oceana Hotel in Santa Monica
. Always gracious to fans, he spent much of this time meticulously answering fan mail. His phone number was listed in the Santa Monica telephone directory, and fans were amazed that they could simply dial the number and find themselves talking to Stan Laurel.
Laurel died on February 23
, several days after suffering a heart attack
. A comedian until the very last, Stan Laurel, just minutes away from death, explained to his nurse how 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 Laurel had quietly slipped away. Dick Van Dyke
, a friend and protege of Laurel's during his later years, gave the eulogy at his funeral; the great silent screen comedian Buster Keaton
was overheard at Laurel's funeral giving his assessment of the comedian's considerable talents: "Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man" Laurel
"was the funniest".
Laurel even wrote his own obituary; "If anyone at my funeral has a long face, I'll never speak to him again." He was buried at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery
in Los Angeles.
a statue of Laurel was erected in Dockwray Square, North Shields
, where he lived at No. 8 from 1897
- and the steps down from the Square to the North Shields Fish Quay were said to inspire the piano-moving scene in The Music Box
*Filmography of Stan Laurel
(The films of Stan Laurel as an actor without Oliver Hardy)
*Laurel and Hardy films
(The filmography of Laurel and Hardy together.)
In popular culture
, BBC Four
showed a drama based on Laurel meeting Hardy on his deathbed and reminiscing about their career called Stan
*http://www.laurel-and-hardy.com Laurel and Hardy's Website
* imdb name|id=0491048|name=Stan
*http://www.laurel-and-hardy-museum.co.uk/ Laurel and Hardy museum, Ulverston
*http://www.robertolley.co.uk/StanLaurel/page2.html Information on his statue in North ShieldsLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, StanLaurel, Standa:Stan Laurelde:Stan Laureles:Stan Laurelio:Stan Laurelit:Stan Laurelnl:Stan Laureloc:Stan Laurelpt:Stan Laurelro:Stan Laurelsv:Stan Laurel