They are one of the most well-known comedy duos in movie history, appearing together for the first time in 1927, Laurel and Hardy attracted a legion of fans around the world.
With Stan’s famous head scratch and Ollie’s signature catchphrase: “Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into,” the two were the epitome of slapstick humor during the early classical Hollywood era of American cinema.
The dynamic duo appeared in 106 films released between 1921 and 1951 which included silent and feature movies.
British born Stan Laurel and U.S. born Oliver Hardy were already established comedians and movie stars in their own right before they were put together in 1926.
Stan Laurel, who had appeared in over 50 silent movies, and Oliver Hardy, who had appeared in 250 movies, were aged in their late 30s when they starred in their first movie together The Lucky Dog.
Despite decades of making movie fans around the world laugh the two faced many tragedies behind the scenes.
Born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Lancashire, England in 1890 Stan Laurel was one of five children, three brothers and one sister. His father Arthur Jefferson was a theater manager and his mother Margaret an actress.
His brother died when he was just a few months old and as an adult he would have to endure the death of his first-born son Stanley Robert Jefferson who was born two months premature.
He was Stan Laurel’s second child with his first wife Lois Neilson and his death hit his parents and older sister hard. Stan turned to alcohol to get through his grief.
Three years after losing his son, his brother Robert died suddenly after having dental surgery, possible after inhaling too much laughing gas.
Two years later his first marriage with actress Lois Neilson ended and the couple divorced in 1934, the following year he married Virginia Ruth Roberts, who Laurel ended up marrying twice.
In all Laurel married five times and lost many loved ones along the way, including his older brother Gordon who committed suicide. When his much-loved on screen comedy partner Oliver Hardy died in 1957 Laurel was too sick to attend his funeral and was said to be so overcome with grief he never appeared in another movie again without his friend.
Laurel suffered a heart attack in 1965 aged 74 years old.
His larger than life co-star and beloved friend Oliver Hardy also had his fair share of losses. Born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia in 1892, he was the youngest of five children.
Shortly after his birth his father Oliver, a Confederate veteran who had been wounded in battle, died and Norvell later took his name to honor him.
Years later, Hardy also lost his older brother Sam after he drowned in a river. Hardy pulled him to shore and tried to resuscitate him but he was too late.
Hardy was plagued by sickness and by the 1950s his health had deteriorated drastically after he suffered several strokes which left him almost completely paralyzed and unable to speak for several months.
He died of cerebral thrombosis in 1957 at age 65.
The legacy of movies these two left is incredible and they will forever be remembered as Hollywood legends.
Knowing the tragedies they endured in life make their comedic talents even more impressive.
Please share with all the Laurel and Hardy fans you know.
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