Harold Lloyd

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Lloyd, Harold,

1893–1971, American movie actor. Born in tiny Burchard, Kans., he came to California in 1912. Lloyd became famous for his comic portrayals of a wistful innocent with horn-rimmed glasses who blunders in and out of hair-raising situations, e.g., hanging from the hands of a clock high above a city in Safety Last (1923), often considered his masterpiece. Lloyd's natural style of acting helped to create a believable character that made him the most popular film comedian of the 1920s. He appeared in more than 500 films, including many shorts and 18 feature-length films, spanning both the silent and sound eras; among them were Girl Shy (1924), The Freshman (1925), Movie Crazy (1932), and Mad Wednesday (1947). Lloyd was also the subject of two compilations, Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy (1962) and The Funny Side of Life (1963), which he produced and edited.


See interviews ed. by W. Cahn (1974); S. Lloyd (his granddaughter) and J. Vance, Harold Lloyd: Master Comedian (2002); biography by A. M. D'Agostino (2009); studies by R. Schickel (1974) and A. Reilly (1977); A. M. D'Agostino, Harold Lloyd: a Bio-Bibliography (1994) and The Harold Lloyd Encyclopedia (2004, repr. 2010).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lloyd, Harold


Born Apr. 20, 1893, in Burchard, Neb.; died Mar. 8, 1971, in Hollywood, Calif. American motion-picture actor.

Lloyd graduated from a drama school in San Diego and began to appear in films in 1913. Between 1915 and 1917, Lloyd appeared in the popular Lonesome Luke series of one-reel films, which showed the influence of C. Chaplin. Gradually, Lloyd developed the distinctive persona that brought him world fame: the elegant, well-bred, and self-assured young man who pursues a goal stubbornly and imperturbably. Lloyd’s most characteristic films included Grandma’s Boy (1922), Safety Last (1923), and Girl Shy (1924). Harold Lloyd’s World of Comedy, a compilation of scenes from his films, appeared in 1962. Lloyd was also a director and producer.


Arnol’di, E. “Garol’d Lloid.” In Komiki mirovogo kino. Moscow, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lloyd, Harold (Clayton)

(1893–1971) movie actor; born in Burchard, Nebr. Beginning in movies in 1912 as a bit-player and extra, he appeared in a one-reel comedy series as "Willie Work," then did another series as "Lonesome Luke"; both were done under Hal Roach. In subsequent movies Lloyd fine-tuned his persona as a shy, colorless, average man – always wearing oversize horn-rimmed glasses—who makes his way through the minefields of life with a combination of pluck and ingenuity. Dubbed the "king of daredevil comedy," he performed his own stunts and from 1914 to 1947 kept movie fans suspended between hilarity and terror—and made himself a fortune. In 1952 he received a Special Academy Award for being a "master comedian and a good citizen," the latter recognizing his many contributions to charities and service organizations.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.