Laurel and Hardy

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Laurel and Hardy,

American film comedy team. The duo consisted of Stan Laurel, 1890–1965, b. Ulverson, England, whose real name was Arthur Stanley Jefferson; and Oliver Hardy, 1892–1957, b. Atlanta, Ga. The thin Laurel and rotund Hardy had occasionally appeared in films together before being purposely teamed in 1927. Their typical routine involved a simple set-up which is complicated by their zany antics and taken to wildly comic extremes. Their more than 100 films spanning three decades (1921–51) are marked by expert pantomime, brilliant physical comedy, well-defined character, and a special care taken with props. Laurel produced several of their films and devised most of the routines. They appeared in shorts until 1935 and in features until 1951. Hardy made infrequent appearances in straight roles without Laurel. Their best-known films include the Academy Award-winning The Music Box (1933), Fra Diavolo (1933), Sons of the Desert (1934), and Way Out West (1937).


See S. Louvish, Stan and Ollie (2002).

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Laurel and Hardy

a team of US film comedians, Stan Laurel, 1890--1965, born in Britain, the thin one, and his partner, Oliver Hardy, 1892--1957, the fat one
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Laurel and Hardy

(1890–1965) movie actor; born in Ulverston, England; and Oliver (Norvell) Hardy (Jr.) (1892–1957) movie actor; born in Harlem, Ga. Laurel had been on stage in England and was Charlie Chaplin's understudy when his troupe toured the U.S.A. in 1910 and 1912. He began making movies with Nuts in May (1917). Hardy began as a singer at age eight. In 1914 he made his movie debut in Outwitting Dad. Although they chanced to appear in the short movie, Lucky Dog, in 1917, they did not form their comedy team until 1927 with Slipping Wives. Together for three decades, they made more than 100 films, 27 of them features. They were slapstick clowns but with their own subtle variations on the theme of their basic characters. Hardy was fat, pretentious, and blustering; Laurel was bullied, confused, and emotional. Laurel, the creative mind behind the foolishness, outlived Hardy to accept a special Oscar in 1960.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.