Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel

Infobox actor
bgcolour = silver
name = Stan Laurel

imagesize = 275px
caption = Stan Laurel (Left) in a promotional still from Laurel and Hardy's 1937 feature film "Way Out West".
birthname = Arthur Stanley Jefferson
birthdate = birth date|1890|6|16|df=y
location = Ulverston, Lancashire, England
deathdate = death date and age|1965|2|23|1890|6|16|df=y
deathplace =Santa Monica, California, United States
othername = Stan Jefferson
website =
genre = Music hall & film, comedian & director
spouse = Lois Nielson (1926–34)
Virginia Ruth Rogers (1935–38)
Vera Ivanova Shuvalova ("Illeana") (1938–40)
Virginia Ruth Rogers (1941–46)
Ida Kitaeva Raphael (1946–65)
academyawards = Academy Honorary Award
1961 Lifetime Achievement Award
sagawards = Life Achievement Award
1963 Lifetime Archievement

Stan Laurel (born Arthur Stanley Jefferson; June 16, 1890 – February 23, 1965) was an English comic actor, writer and director, famous as the first half 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's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is situated at 7021 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, California.

Early life

Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanley Jefferson on June 16, 1890 at 3 Argyle Street, Ulverston,cite web | last =Midwinter | first =Eric | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url =| title = Laurel, Stan| format = | work = | publisher = Oxford Dictionary of National Biography| accessdate = 2008-08-11] in the Furness region of Lancashire, England (now part of the ceremonial county of Cumbria) at his grandparents' house. His parents, Arthur and Madge (Margaret) Jefferson, were both active in the theatre and Stan's home life in Bishop Auckland, County Durham was a happy one. In his early years, he spent much time living with his grandmother Sarah Metcalfe. He attended school at the King James I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland [ [ The Laurel & Hardy Forum :: View topic - Plea to save Stan Laurel's school] ] and The King's School, Tynemouth. His father managed a number of different theatres - one of which being the long demolished Eden Theatre in Bishop Auckland. Stan had a natural affinity for the theatre, with his first professional performance on stage being at the Britannia Panopticon in Glasgow, Scotland, at the age of 16. [cite book | last = Bowers | first =Judith | coauthors = | title = Stan Laurel and other stars of the Panopticon | publisher = Birlinn Ltd | date = 2007 | pages = pp.143–147|isbn=184158617X] In 1910, he joined Fred Karno's troupe of actors, which also included a young Charlie Chaplin. For some time, Stan 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 became lifelong friends. Amongst other performers, Laurel worked briefly alongside Oliver Hardy in a silent film short "The Lucky Dog", this was before the two became a team.cite web | last =Midwinter | first =Eric | authorlink = | coauthors = | year = 2006 | url =| title = Laurel, Stan| format = | work = | publisher = Oxford Dictionary of National Biography| accessdate = 2008-08-10]

It was around this time that Stan met Mae Dahlberg, who was to have a great impact on his life. Also about 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", Universal offered him a contract. The contract was short-lived, however, and was cancelled during a reorganisation 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, Stan married his first wife, Lois Nielson. He would go on to marry three other women. One of them he would marry twice.

He was also good friends with Jimmy Finlayson before the team of Laurel and Hardy appeared.

Laurel and Hardy

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 Laurel was asked to return to acting. Laurel and Hardy began sharing the screen in "Slipping Wives", "Duck Soup" and "With Love and Hisses". It soon became obvious that the two had a comic chemistry. Roach Studios' supervising director Leo McCarey noticed the audience reaction to them and began teaming them, leading to the creation of the "Laurel and Hardy" series later that year.

Together, the two men began producing a huge body of short films, 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 "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-colour (in Technicolor) musical feature entitled: "The Rogue Song". In 1931, their own first starring feature, "Pardon Us" was released, although they continued to make both 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 being tried for drunk driving, he counter-sued the Roach studio. Eventually, the case was dropped and Laurel 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. 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". Subsequently, they made "Saps at Sea", which was their last film for Roach. In April 1940, their contract expired.

Fox Studios

In 1939, 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. Laurel discovered he had diabetes, so he encouraged Oliver Hardy to make two films without him. In 1946, he divorced Virginia Ruth Rogers and married Ida Kitaeva Raphael. With Ida, he enjoyed a happy marriage until his death.

In 1950, Laurel and Hardy were invited to France to make a feature film. The film, a French/Italian co-production titled "Atoll K", was a disaster. (The film was titled "Utopia" in the US and "Robinson Crusoeland" in the UK.) Both stars were noticeably ill during the filming. Upon returning home, they spent most of their time recovering. In 1952, Laurel and Hardy toured Europe successfully, and they toured Europe again in 1953.

During this tour, Laurel fell ill and was unable to perform for several weeks. In May 1954, Oliver Hardy had a heart attack and cancelled the tour. In 1955, they were planning to do a television series, "Laurel and Hardy's Fabulous Fables", based on children's stories, but the plans were delayed because Laurel suffered a stroke. He recovered, and as he was planning to get back to work, Oliver Hardy had a massive stroke on 15 September 1956. Paralyzed and bedridden for several months, he was unable to speak or move.

Hardy's death

On 7 August 1957, Oliver Hardy died. Laurel did not attend his funeral, stating "Babe would understand." A subsequent letter to a fan claimed he was advised by his doctor not to attend because of his own ill-health. [ [ Edinburgh Evening News ] ] Afterward, Laurel 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, Stan Laurel was browsing a local stationery shop, the shopkeeper approached him recognizing him but not knowing who he was. When asked, Laurel gave his name as "Oliver Hardy." The shopkeeper then asked "Whatever happened to the other guy?" Laurel replied "He went barmy."Fact|date=July 2008

Life after Laurel and Hardy

In 1961, Laurel won a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. He had achieved his lifelong dream as a comedian and had been involved in nearly 190 films. He lived his final years in a small apartment in the Oceana Hotel in Santa Monica. Always gracious to fans, he spent much time answering fan mail. His phone number was listed in the telephone directory, and fans were amazed that they could dial the number and speak to Stan Laurel. Jerry Lewis was among the comedians to visit Laurel, who offered suggestions for Lewis' production of "The Bellboy" (1960).

He died on February 23, 1965, several days after suffering a heart attack. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Stan Laurel Dies. Teamed With Oliver Hardy in 200 Slapstick Films-Played 'Simple' Foil. |url= |quote= |publisher=New York Times |date=February 24, 1965 |accessdate=2008-05-29 ] A comedian until the very last, Stan Laurel, just minutes away from death, 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.

Dick Van Dyke, a friend and protege of Laurel's (and occasional impressionist of Laurel) during his later years, gave the eulogy at his funeral. 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 was the funniest".

Laurel wrote his own epitaph; "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.


In 1989 a statue of Laurel was erected in Dockwray Square, North Shields, Northumberland, England where he lived at No. 8 from 1897 to 1902, and where the steps down from the Square to the North Shields Fish Quay were said to have inspired the piano-moving scene in "The Music Box". In 2006, BBC Four showed a drama based on Laurel meeting Hardy on his deathbed and reminiscing about their career called "Stan". [ [ BBC - BBC Four Cinema - Silent Cinema Season] ] In 2008 a statue of Laurel was erected in Bishop Auckland, Durham on the site of the Eden Theatre. [ - Statue of Laurel arrives in Bishop Auckland]


*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)


External links

* [ The Official Laurel and Hardy website]
* [ Laurel and Hardy Museum, Ulverston]
* [ The Britannia Music Hall in Glasgow where Stan Laurel made his professional debut in July 1906]
* [ Information on his statue in North Shields]
* [ The Stan Laurel Correspondence Archive Project]
* [ Audio interview August, 1957]
*Find A Grave|id=607

NAME= Laurel, Stan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Jefferson, Arthur Stanley
SHORT DESCRIPTION=silent film comedian
DATE OF BIRTH= 16 June, 1890
PLACE OF BIRTH= Ulverston, Lancashire, England
DATE OF DEATH= 23 February, 1965
PLACE OF DEATH= Santa Monica, California, United States

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stan Laurel — (sentado) en Lucky Dog Nombre real Arthur Stanley Jefferson Nacimiento 16 de junio de 1890 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Stan Laurel — Laurel (links) und Hardy 1943 Stan Laurel [stæn ˈlɔɹəl] (* 16. Juni 1890 in Ulverston, England, Vereinigtes Königreich; † 23. Februar 1965 in Santa Mon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Stan Laurel — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Laurel (homonymie) et Jefferson. Stan Laurel …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Stan Laurel — ➡ Laurel and Hardy * * * …   Universalium

  • Stan Laurel — noun United States slapstick comedian (born in England) who played the scatterbrained and often tearful member of the Laurel and Hardy duo who made many films (1890 1965) • Syn: ↑Laurel, ↑Arthur Stanley Jefferson Laurel • Instance Hypernyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Stan Laurel — Arthur Stanley Jefferson …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Stan Laurel y Oliver Hardy — formaron un dúo cómico denominado El Gordo y el Flaco, que apareció en numerosas películas mudas y luego también en las habladas, y que gozó de gran popularidad …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Stan Laurel filmography — NOTOC These are the films of Stan Laurel as an actor without Oliver Hardy. For the filmography of Laurel and Hardy as a team, see: Laurel and Hardy films. 1917 1918 1919 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 References 1917 * Nuts in May (as Stan… …   Wikipedia

  • Filmografía de Stan Laurel — Anexo:Filmografía de Stan Laurel Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Estas son las películas de Stan Laurel en solitario (sin Oliver Hardy). Para la filmografía completa de Laurel y Hardy, véase filmografía de Laurel y Hardy. Contenido 1 1917 2 1918 3… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Laurel and Hardy — were the popular American based comedy team of thin, British born Stan Laurel (1890 1965) and heavy, American born Oliver Hardy (1892 1957). They became famous during the early half of the 20th century for their work in motion pictures and also… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.