Joan Crawford was an American actress. She began her career as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorus girl on Broadway. Crawford signed a motion picture contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled, outlasted, that of MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford played hard-working young women who found romance and success; these characters and stories were well received by Depression-era audiences, were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars, one of the highest-paid women in the United States. In 1945 she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, she would go on to receive Best Actress nominations for Sudden Fear. Crawford continued to act in television throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955, Crawford became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company through her marriage to company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alfred Steele. In 1970 Crawford retired from the screen and following a public appearance in 1974 Crawford withdrew from public life, becoming reclusive until her death in 1977.
Crawford married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce, she adopted five children. Crawford's relationships with her two elder children and Christopher, were acrimonious. After Crawford's death, Christina wrote Mommie Dearest. Born Lucille Fay LeSueur, of English, French Huguenot and Irish ancestry, in San Antonio, she was the third and youngest child of Tennessee-born Thomas E. LeSueur, a laundry laborer, Texas-born Anna Bell Johnson, whose date of birth is given as November 29, 1884, based on census records, she may have been older, she was still under 20 when her first two children were born. She died on August 15, 1958. Crawford's elder siblings were sister Daisy LeSueur, who died before Lucille's birth, brother Hal LeSueur. Thomas LeSueur abandoned the family a few months before her birth resettling in Abilene, Texas working as a construction laborer. Following LeSueur's departure from the family home, Crawford's mother remarried Henry J. Cassin. However, the marriage is listed in the census as Crawford's mother's first marriage.
Crawford lived with her mother and siblings in Lawton, Oklahoma. There, Cassin ran the Ramsey Opera House. Crawford preferred the nickname "Billie" as a child, enjoyed watching vaudeville acts perform on the stage of her stepfather's theatre. At that time, Crawford was unaware that Cassin, whom she called "daddy", was not her biological father until her brother Hal told her the truth. Cassin began sexually abusing her when she was eleven years old, the abuse continued until she was sent to St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic girls' school, her family's instability negatively affected Crawford and her schooling never formally progressed beyond primary education. Beginning in childhood, Crawford's ambition was to be a dancer. One day in an attempt to escape piano lessons so she could play with friends, she leapt from the front porch of her home and cut her foot on a broken milk bottle; as a result, she underwent three surgeries to repair the damage. She was unable to continue with dancing lessons, for 18 months.
While still residing in Lawton, Crawford's stepfather was accused of embezzlement. Although he was acquitted in court, he was blacklisted in Lawton, the family moved to Kansas City, around 1916. Following their relocation, Cassin, a Catholic, placed Crawford at St. Agnes Academy in Kansas City; when her mother and stepfather separated, she remained at St. Agnes as a work student, where she spent far more time working cooking and cleaning, than studying, she attended Rockingham Academy as a working student. While attending there, she began dating, had her first serious relationship with a trumpet player named Ray Sterling. Sterling inspired her to begin challenging herself academically. In 1922, she registered at Stephens College in Columbia, giving her year of birth as 1906, she attended Stephens for only a few months before withdrawing after she realized she was not prepared for college. Under the name Lucille LeSueur, Crawford began dancing in the choruses of traveling revues, was spotted dancing in Detroit by producer Jacob J. Shubert.
Shubert put her in the chorus line for his 1924 show, Innocent Eyes, at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway in New York City. While appearing in Innocent Eyes, Crawford met; the two were married in 1924, lived together for several months, although this supposed marriage was never mentioned in life by Crawford. Crawford wanted additional work, approached Loews Theaters publicist Nils Granlund. Granlund secured a position for her with singer Harry Richman's act and arranged for her to do a screen test which he sent to producer Harry Rapf in Hollywood. Rapf notified Granlund on December 24, 1924, that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had offered Crawford a contract at $75 a week. Granlund wired LeSueur, who had retu
Maurice Auguste Chevalier was a French actor, cabaret singer and entertainer. He is best known for his signature songs, including his first American hit "Livin' In The Sunlight", "Valentine", "Louise", "Mimi", "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and for his films, including The Love Parade, The Big Pond and Love Me Tonight, his trademark attire was a boater hat. Chevalier was born in Paris, he made his name as a star of musical comedy, appearing in public as a singer and dancer at an early age before working in menial jobs as a teenager. In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in France at Fréhel. Although their relationship was brief, she secured him his first major engagement, as a mimic and a singer in l'Alcazar in Marseille, for which he received critical acclaim by French theatre critics. In 1917, he discovered jazz and ragtime and went to London, where he found new success at the Palace Theatre. After this, he toured the United States, where he met the American composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and brought the operetta Dédé to Broadway in 1922.
He developed an interest in acting and had success in Dédé. When talkies arrived, he went to Hollywood in 1928, where he played his first American role in Innocents of Paris. In 1930, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in The Love Parade and The Big Pond, which secured his first big American hit, "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight". In 1957, he appeared in Love in the Afternoon, his first Hollywood film in more than 20 years. In 1958, he starred with Louis Jourdan in Gigi. In the early 1960s, he made eight films, including Fanny the following year. In 1970, he made his final contribution to the film industry where he sang the title song of the Disney film The Aristocats, he died in Paris, on January 1, 1972, aged 83. Chevalier was born on September 1888 in Paris, his father was a French house painter. His mother, Joséphine van den Bosch, was French of Belgian descent, he worked a number of jobs: a carpenter's apprentice, printer, as a doll painter. He started in show business in 1901.
He was singing, unpaid, at a café when a member of the theatre saw him and suggested he try for a local musical. He got the part. Chevalier made a name as a singer, his act in l'Alcazar in Marseille was so successful, he made a triumphant rearrival in Paris. In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in Fréhel. However, due to her alcoholism and drug addiction, their liaison ended in 1911. Chevalier started a relationship with 36-year-old Mistinguett at the Folies Bergère, where he was her 23-year-old dance partner; when World War I broke out, Chevalier was in the middle of his national service in the front line, where he was wounded by shrapnel in the back in the first weeks of combat and was taken as a prisoner of war in Germany for two years. While imprisoned he learned English, but with a Leeds accent from his fellow British prisoners. In 1916, he was released through the secret intervention of Mistinguett's admirer, King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the only king of a neutral country, related to both the British and German royal families.
In 1917, Chevalier became a star in le Casino de Paris and played before British soldiers and Americans. He started thinking about touring the United States. In the prison camp, he had an advantage over other French artists, he went to London, where he found new success at the Palace Theatre though he still sang in French. After the war, Chevalier went back to Paris and created several songs still known today, such as "Valentine", he played in a few pictures, including Chaplin's A Woman of Paris and made a huge impression in the operetta Dédé. He met the American composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and brought Dédé to Broadway in 1922; the same year he met Yvonne Vallée, a young dancer, who became his wife in 1927. When Douglas Fairbanks was on honeymoon in Paris in 1920, he offered him star billing with his new wife Mary Pickford, but Chevalier doubted his own talent for silent movies; when sound arrived, he made his Hollywood debut in 1928. He signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and played his first American role in Innocents of Paris.
In 1930, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in The Love Parade and The Big Pond. The Big Pond gave Chevalier his first big American hit songs: "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" with words and music by Al Lewis and Al Sherman, plus "A New Kind of Love", he collaborated with film director Ernst Lubitsch. He appeared in Paramount's all-star revue film Paramount on Parade. While Chevalier was under contract with Paramount, his name was so recognized that his passport was featured in the Marx Brothers film Monkey Business. In this sequence, each brother uses Chevalier's passport, tries to sneak off the ocean liner where they were stowaways by claiming to be the singer—with unique renditions of "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" with its line "If the nightingales could sing like you". In 1931, Chevalier starred in a musical called The Smiling Lieutenant with Claudette Colbert and Miriam Hopkins. Despite the disdain audiences held for musicals in 1931, it proved a successful film.
In 1932, he starred with Jeanette MacDonald in Paramount's film musical One Hour With You which became a success and one of the films instrumental in making music
Ford Sterling was an American comedian and actor best known for his work with Keystone Studios. One of the'Big 4', he was the original chief of the Keystone Cops. Born in La Crosse, Wisconsin, he began his career in silent films in 1911 with Biograph Studios; when director Mack Sennett left to set up Keystone Studios in 1912, Sterling followed him. There, he performed various roles, such as'Chief Teeheezel' in the Keystone Cops series of slapstick comedies in a successful career that spanned twenty-five years. From 1913 and throughout the 1910s, Sterling was among the most popular screen comedians in the world. Charlie Chaplin recalled that, when joining Keystone in early 1914, he was at first dismayed to discover that he was expected to imitate Sterling. Chaplin and Sterling played together at least twice on film, in the one-reelers A Thief Catcher and Between Showers. In the 1920s, Sterling abandoned the short comedy format, instead playing supporting roles in both comedic and dramatic feature-length films, such as He Who Gets Slapped opposite Lon Chaney.
After talking pictures came along, Sterling returned to appearing in short comedies. Sterling was a renowned amateur photographer, who won many prizes and at one point had some of his work exhibited at the Louvre. Making a smooth transition to talking films, Ford Sterling made the last of his more than two hundred and seventy film appearances in 1936, he died in 1939 of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California and is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ford Sterling has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6612 Hollywood Blvd. Notes Bibliography Wendy Warwick White, Ford Sterling - His Life and Films ISBN 0-7864-2587-3 Simon Louvish, Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett ISBN 0-571-21100-3 Ford Sterling on IMDb Ford Sterling at the Internet Broadway Database Literature on Ford Sterling
Mary Jane "Mae" West was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades, known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence. West was active in vaudeville and on the stage in New York City before moving to Hollywood to become a comedian and writer in the motion picture industry, as well as appearing on radio and television; the American Film Institute named her 15th among the greatest female stars of classic American cinema. Using a husky contralto voice, West was one of the more controversial movie stars of her day and encountered many problems censorship, she bucked the system, making comedy out of conventional mores, the Depression-era audience admired her for it. When her cinematic career ended, she wrote books and plays and continued to perform in Las Vegas, in the United Kingdom, on radio and television and to record rock and roll albums, she was once asked about the various efforts to impede her career, to which she replied: "I believe in censorship.
I made a fortune out of it." Mary Jane West was born on August 1893, in Kings County, New York. She was delivered at home by an aunt, a midwife, she was the eldest surviving child of Mathilde "Tillie" Delker. Tillie and her five siblings emigrated with their parents and Christiana Doelger from Bavaria in 1886. West's parents married on January 18, 1889, in Brooklyn, to the pleasure of the groom's parents and the displeasure of the bride's parents and raised their children as Protestants, although John West was of mixed Catholic–Protestant descent and Tillie was of at least partial Jewish descent. West's father was a prizefighter known as "Battlin' Jack West" who worked as a "special policeman" and had his own private investigations agency, her mother was a former fashion model. Her paternal grandmother, Mary Jane, for whom she was named, was of Irish Catholic descent and West's paternal grandfather, John Edwin West, was of English–Scots descent and a ship's rigger, her eldest sibling, died in infancy.
Her other siblings were Mildred Katherine West known as Beverly, John Edwin West II. During her childhood, West's family moved to various parts of Woodhaven, as well as the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn. In Woodhaven, at Neir's Social Hall, West first performed professionally. West was five when she first entertained a crowd at a church social, she started appearing in amateur shows at the age of seven, she won prizes at local talent contests. She began performing professionally in vaudeville in the Hal Clarendon Stock Company in 1907 at the age of 14. West first performed under the stage name "Baby Mae", tried various personas, including a male impersonator, she used the alias "Jane Mast" early in her career. Her trademark walk was said to have been inspired or influenced by female impersonators Bert Savoy and Julian Eltinge, who were famous during the Pansy Craze, her first appearance in a Broadway show was in a 1911 revue A La Broadway put on by her former dancing teacher, Ned Wayburn.
The show folded after eight performances, but at age 18, West was singled out and discovered by The New York Times. The Times reviewer wrote that a "girl named Mae West, hitherto unknown, pleased by her grotesquerie and snappy way of singing and dancing". West next appeared in a show called Vera Violetta. In 1912, she appeared in the opening performance of A Winsome Widow as a "baby vamp" named La Petite Daffy, she was encouraged as a performer by her mother, according to West, always thought that anything Mae did was fantastic. Other family members were less encouraging, including her paternal grandmother, they are all reported as having disapproved of her choices. In 1918, after exiting several high-profile revues, West got her break in the Shubert Brothers revue Sometime, opposite Ed Wynn, her character Mayme danced the shimmy and her photograph appeared on an edition of the sheet music for the popular number "Ev'rybody Shimmies Now". She began writing her own risqué plays using the pen name Jane Mast.
Her first starring role on Broadway was in a 1926 play she entitled Sex, which she wrote and directed. Although conservative critics panned the show, ticket sales were strong; the production did not go over well with city officials, who had received complaints from some religious groups, the theater was raided, with West arrested along with the cast. She was taken to the Jefferson Market Court House, where she was prosecuted on morals charges, on April 19, 1927, was sentenced to 10 days for "corrupting the morals of youth". Though West could have paid a fine and been let off, she chose the jail sentence for the publicity it would garner. While incarcerated on Welfare Island, she dined with his wife. West got great mileage from this jail stint, she served eight days with two days off for "good behavior". Media attention surrounding the incident enhanced her career, by crowning her the darling "bad girl" who "had climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong", her next play, Th
Joseph Frank Keaton, known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an American actor, film director, producer and stunt performer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a stoic, deadpan expression which earned him the nickname "The Great Stone Face". Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton's "extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929" when he "worked without interruption" on a series of films that make him "the greatest actor-director in the history of the movies", his career declined afterward with a loss of artistic independence when he was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, his wife divorced him, he descended into alcoholism. He recovered in the 1940s, revived his career to a degree as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning an Academy Honorary Award. Many of Keaton's films from the 1920s remain regarded, such as Sherlock Jr; the General, The Cameraman, with The General viewed as his masterpiece. Among its strongest admirers was Orson Welles, who stated that The General was cinema's highest achievement in comedy, the greatest film made.
Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest film director by Entertainment Weekly, the American Film Institute ranked him in 1999 as the 21st greatest male star of classic Hollywood cinema. Keaton was born into a vaudeville family in Piqua, the small town where his mother, Myra Keaton, was when she went into labor, he was named "Joseph" to continue a tradition on his father's side and "Frank" for his maternal grandfather, who disapproved of his parents' union. Keaton changed his middle name to "Francis", his father was Joseph Hallie "Joe" Keaton, who owned a traveling show with Harry Houdini called the Mohawk Indian Medicine Company, which performed on stage and sold patent medicine on the side. According to a repeated story, which may be apocryphal, Keaton acquired the nickname "Buster" at about 18 months of age. Keaton told interviewer Fletcher Markle that Houdini was present one day when the young Keaton took a tumble down a long flight of stairs without injury. After the infant sat up and shook off his experience, Houdini remarked, "That was a real buster!"
According to Keaton, in those days, the word "buster" was used to refer to a spill or a fall that had the potential to produce injury. After this, Keaton's father began to use the nickname to refer to the youngster. Keaton retold the anecdote over the years, including a 1964 interview with the CBC's Telescope. At the age of three, Keaton began performing with his parents in The Three Keatons, he first appeared on stage in 1899 in Delaware. The act was a comedy sketch. Myra played the saxophone to one side, while Buster performed on center stage; the young Keaton would goad his father by disobeying him, the elder Keaton would respond by throwing him against the scenery, into the orchestra pit, or into the audience. A suitcase handle; the act evolved as Keaton learned to take trick falls safely. This knockabout style of comedy led to accusations of child abuse, arrest. However, Buster Keaton was always able to show the authorities that he had no bruises or broken bones, he was billed as "The Little Boy Who Can't Be Damaged", with the overall act being advertised as "The Roughest Act That Was Ever in the History of the Stage".
Decades Keaton said that he was never hurt by his father and that the falls and physical comedy were a matter of proper technical execution. In 1914, Keaton told the Detroit News: "The secret is in landing limp and breaking the fall with a foot or a hand. It's a knack. I started so young. Several times I'd have been killed. Imitators of our act don't last long, because they can't stand the treatment."Keaton claimed he was having so much fun that he would sometimes begin laughing as his father threw him across the stage. Noticing that this drew fewer laughs from the audience, he adopted his famous deadpan expression whenever he was working; the act ran up against laws banning child performers in vaudeville. According to one biographer, Keaton was made to go to school while performing in New York, but only attended for part of one day. Despite tangles with the law and a disastrous tour of music halls in the United Kingdom, Keaton was a rising star in the theater. Keaton stated that he learned to read and write late, was taught by his mother.
By the time he was 21, his father's alcoholism threatened the reputation of the family act, so Keaton and his mother, left for New York, where Buster Keaton's career swiftly moved from vaudeville to film. Keaton served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France with the United States Army's 40th Infantry Division during World War I, his unit remained intact and was not broken up to provide replacements, as happened to some other late-arriving divisions. During his time in uniform, he suffered an ear infection. In February 1917, Keaton met Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle at the Talmadge Studios in New York City, where Arbuckle was under contract to Joseph M. Schenck. Joe Keaton disapproved of films, Buster had reservations about the medium. During his first meeting with Arbuckle, he asked to borrow one of the cameras to get a feel for how it worked, he dismantled and reassembled it. With this rough understanding of the mechanics of the moving pictures, he returned the next day, camera in
George Arliss was an English actor, author and filmmaker who found success in the United States. He was the first British actor to win an Academy Award – which he won for his performance as Victorian era British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in Disraeli, as well as the earliest-born actor to win the honour. Born in London and baptised as Augustus George Andrews but listed as George Augustus Andrews, his relatives referred to him as Uncle Gus. Arliss was educated at Harrow, he left at age eighteen to go on the stage. He began his acting career on the stage in the British provinces in 1887. By 1900, he was playing London's West End in supporting roles, he embarked for a tour of America in 1901 in Mrs Patrick Campbell's troupe. Intending to remain in the US only for the length of the tour, Arliss stayed for twenty years becoming a star in 1908 in The Devil. Producer George Tyler commissioned Louis Napoleon Parker in 1911 to write a play tailored for Arliss, the actor toured in Disraeli for five years becoming identified with the 19th century British prime minister.
He began his film career followed by Disraeli and four other silent films. Today, only The Devil, Disraeli, $20 a Week, The Green Goddess, based on the hit stage play in which he had starred, are known to have survived, he remade Disraeli in sound, converting at the age of 61 from a star of the legitimate theatre, silent films, to the talkies. Arliss made ten sound films for Warner Bros. under a contract that gave the star an unusual amount of creative control for the time. Curiously, his casting of actors and rewriting of scripts were privileges granted him by the studio that are not mentioned in his contract. One of these films, The Man Who Played God, was Bette Davis's first leading role; until the end of Davis's life, she would credit Arliss for insisting upon her as his leading lady and giving her a chance to show her mettle. The two co-starred in The Working Man in 1933. Arliss built a production unit at Warners' both in front behind the cameras, his stage manager, Maude Howell, became an assistant producer and was one of the few female film executives in Hollywood at that time.
After his first three films, Arliss approved an undistinguished director, John Adolfi, to direct each of his films from that point on. Adolfi soon found himself regarded as a successful director of the critically and financially acclaimed Arliss films. Arliss preferred to use the same reliable actors, such as Ivan Simpson and Charles Evans, from film to film, yet Arliss had an eye for discovering unknown newcomers, such as James Cagney, Randolph Scott and Dick Powell, among others. Despite his extensive involvement in the planning and production of his films, Arliss claimed credit only for acting. Working with Warners' production chief, Darryl F. Zanuck, Arliss left the studio when Zanuck resigned in April 1933. Zanuck signed Arliss to make new films at Zanuck's fledgling studio, 20th Century Pictures, prompting Warners' to bitterly complain to the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences that Zanuck had "stolen" their star. Arliss is remembered for his witty series of historical biographies such as Alexander Hamilton, The House of Rothschild, The Iron Duke, Cardinal Richelieu.
However, he had a second string to his bow, a series of domestic comedies such as The Millionaire, A Successful Calamity, The Working Man, The Last Gentleman, among others. He appeared with his wife, Florence Arliss, to whom he was married from 16 September 1899 until his death, they had no children, although Leslie Arliss, who became a prolific producer-director for Gainsborough Pictures, is erroneously referred to as their son in some reference works. Florence starred both on stage and in films with her husband and always played his character's spouse. However, that did not prevent Arliss from using another actress. Flo turned down roles that George wanted her to play in some films. In 1934 British filmgoers named Arliss their favourite male star. Arliss was approaching 70 when he completed the British-made Doctor Syn in 1937, he and Flo returned to America that year to visit old friends, including famed astronomer Edwin Hubble in California. Producer-director Cecil B. DeMille arranged for the Arlisses to re-enact their roles in Disraeli on DeMille's popular radio show, Lux Radio Theatre, in January 1938.
The occasion was heralded as "a new page in radio history". George and Flo subsequently appeared on Lux in radio adaptations of The Man Who Played God in March 1938, in Cardinal Richelieu in January 1939, their final dramatic appearance anywhere. Returning to their home in London in April 1939, the onset of the Second World War prevented their return to America during Arliss's remaining years; the only taint of scandal involved charges by the British Government in September 1941 that Arliss had not complied with a recent requirement to report bank accounts he maintained in the US and Canada. Both men claimed ignorance of the new law, but they were fined and publicly humiliated by the experience. Arliss settled at Pangbourne in Berkshire. Film producer Darryl F. Zanuck tried to interest Arliss in returning to Hollywood to star in The Pied Piper in 1942. Braving the Luftwaffe's
Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of American Oliver Hardy, they became well known during the late 1920s to the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous bully Hardy. The duo's signature tune is known variously as "The Cuckoo Song", "Ku-Ku", or "The Dance of the Cuckoos", it was played over the opening credits of their films and has become as emblematic of the duo as their bowler hats. Prior to emerging as a team, both actors had well-established film careers. Laurel had appeared in over 50 films as an actor; the two comedians had worked together as cast members on the film The Lucky Dog in 1921. However, they were not a comedy team at that time and it was not until 1926 that they appeared in a movie short together, when both separately signed contracts with the Hal Roach film studio. Laurel and Hardy became a team in 1927 when they appeared together in the silent short film Putting Pants on Philip.
They remained with the Roach studio until 1940 and appeared in eight "B" movie comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. After finishing their movie commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on performing in stage shows and embarked on a music hall tour of England and Scotland, they made their last film in 1950, a French-Italian co-production called Atoll K. They appeared as a team in 107 films, starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, 23 full-length feature films, they made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the Galaxy of Stars promotional film of 1936. On December 1, 1954, the pair made their one American television appearance, when they were surprised and interviewed by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program This Is Your Life. Since the 1930s, the works of Laurel and Hardy have been released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 8-mm and 16-mm home movies, feature-film compilations, home videos. In 2005, they were voted the seventh-greatest comedy act of all time by a UK poll of fellow comedians.
The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert, named after a fictitious fraternal society featured in the film of the same name. Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, England into a theatrical family, his father, Arthur Joseph Jefferson, was a theatrical entrepreneur and theatre owner in northern England and Scotland who, with his wife, was a major force in the industry. In 1905, the Jefferson family moved to Glasgow to be closer to their business mainstay of the Metropole Theatre, Laurel made his stage debut in a Glasgow hall called the Britannia Panopticon one month short of his 16th birthday. Arthur Jefferson secured Laurel his first acting job with the juvenile theatrical company of Levy and Cardwell, which specialized in Christmas pantomimes. In 1909, Laurel was employed by Britain's leading comedy impresario Fred Karno as a supporting actor, as an understudy for Charlie Chaplin. Laurel said, he had no equal. His name was box-office."In 1912, Laurel left England with the Fred Karno Troupe to tour the United States.
Laurel had expected the tour to be a pleasant interval before returning to London. S. In 1917, Laurel was teamed with Mae Dahlberg as a double act for film; the same year, Laurel made his film debut with Dahlberg in Nuts in May. While working with Mae, he began using the name "Stan Laurel" and changed his name in 1931. Dahlberg demanded roles in his films, her tempestuous nature made her difficult to work with. Dressing room arguments were common between the two. In 1925, Laurel joined the Hal Roach film studio as a writer. From May 1925 until September 1926, he received credit in at least 22 films. Laurel appeared in over 50 films for various producers before teaming up with Hardy. Prior to that, he experienced only modest success, it was difficult for producers and directors to write for his character, with American audiences knowing him either as a "nutty burglar" or as a Charlie Chaplin imitator. Oliver Hardy was born Norvell Hardy in Georgia. By his late teens, Hardy was a popular stage singer and he operated a movie house in Milledgeville, the Palace Theater, financed in part by his mother.
For his stage name he took his father's first name, calling himself "Oliver Norvell Hardy", while offscreen his nicknames were "Ollie" and "Babe". The nickname "Babe" originated from an Italian barber near the Lubin Studios in Jacksonville, who would rub Hardy's face with talcum powder and say "That's nice-a baby!" Other actors in the Lubin company mimicked this, Hardy was billed as "Babe Hardy" in his early films. Seeing film comedies inspired him to take up comedy himself and, in 1913, he began working with Lubin Motion Pictures in Jacksonville, he started by helping around the studio with lights and other duties learning the craft as a script-clerk for the company. It was around this time that Hardy married Madelyn Salosihn. In 1914, Hardy was billed as "Babe Hardy" in Outwitting Dad. Between 1914 and 1916 Hardy made 177 shorts as Babe with the Vim Comedy Company, which were released up to the end of 1917. Exhibiting a versatility in playing heroes, villains and