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Oliver Hardy Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (9) | Trivia (38) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 January 1892Harlem, Georgia, USA
Date of Death 7 August 1957North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cerebral thrombosis)
Birth NameOliver Norvell Hardy
Nickname Babe
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Although his parents were never in show business, as a young boy Oliver Hardy was a gifted singer and, by age eight, was performing with minstrel shows. In 1910 he ran a movie theatre, which he preferred to studying law. In 1913 he became a comedy actor with the Lubin Company in Florida and began appearing in a long series of shorts; his debut film was Outwitting Dad (1914). He appeared in he 1914-15 series of "Pokes and Jabbs" shorts, and from 1916-18 he was in the "Plump and Runt" series. From 1919-21 he was a regular in the "Jimmy Aubrey" series of shorts, and from 1921-25 he worked as an actor and co-director of comedy shorts for Larry Semon. In addition to appearing in two-reeler comedies, he found time to make westerns and even melodramas in which he played the heavy. He is most famous, however, as the partner of British comic Stan Laurel, with whom he had played a bit part in The Lucky Dog (1921). in the mid-1920s both he and Laurel wee working for comedy producer Hal Roach, although not as a team. In a moment of inspiration Roach teamed them together, and their first film as a team was 45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926). Their first release for Roach through MGM was Sugar Daddies (1927) and the first with star billing was From Soup to Nuts (1928). They became a huge hit as a comedy team, and after several years of two-reelers, Roach decided to star them in features, their first of which was Pardon Us (1931). They clicked with audiences in features, too, and starred in such classics as Way Out West (1937), Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (1933) and Block-Heads (1938). They eventually parted ways with Roach and in the mid-1940s signed on with Twentieth Century-Fox. Unfortunately, Fox did not let them have the autonomy they had at Roach, where Laurel basically wrote and directed their films, though others were credited, and their films became more assembly-line and formulaic. Their popularity waned and less popular during the war years, and they made their last film for Fox in 1946. Several years later they made their final appearance as a team in a French film, a troubled and haphazard production eventually, after several name changes, called Utopia (1951), generally regarded to be their worst film. Hardy appeared without Laurel in a few features, such as Zenobia (1939) with Harry Langdon, The Fighting Kentuckian (1949) in a semi-comedic role as a frontiersman alongside John Wayne and Riding High (1950), in a cameo role. He died in 1957.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (3)

Virginia Lucille Jones (7 March 1940 - 7 August 1957) (his death)
Myrtle Reeves (24 November 1921 - 18 May 1937) (divorced)
Madelyn Saloshin (7 November 1913 - 17 November 1921) (divorced)

Trade Mark (9)

Usually played a childishly bossy man who barely tolerated his friend, Stan Laurel, but still valued him as someone to whom he could feel superior. With Stan Laurel, they often had a scene in their films where they would get into a fight with another person that consisted solely of destroying property.The duo would destroy something the opponent values while the opponent looks on and does not resist. When they are done, the opponent does the same to the duo, while they refrain from resisting and so on.
Black hair always combed forward and a small mustache
The "slow burn" - looking into the camera, often with an expression of exasperated suffering over what his on-screen partner had just done.
The tie-twiddle, used to convey a sense of coyness or embarrassment
Every puddle his character stepped in appeared to be endlessly deep (He would step into a small puddle and would suddenly be over his head in water)
Most famous costume was a dark suit, a black necktie, and a dark bowler hat
The line, usually directed toward Stan Laurel: "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
On introducing himself: "I'm Mr. Hardy and this is my friend Mr. Laurel."
To Stan: "Why don't you do something to *help* me?"

Trivia (38)

Related to Captain Hardy (as in "Kiss me Hardy" - Nelson).
Had appeared in over 400 movies.
Best known for his work with Stan Laurel.
Interred at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California, USA.
Subject of one of five 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating famous comedians, issued in booklet form 29 August 1991. He is shown with his partner Stan Laurel. The stamp designs were drawn by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. The other comedians honored in the set are Edgar Bergen (with alter ego Charlie McCarthy), Jack Benny, Fanny Brice, and Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
His favourite pastime was playing golf, which he learned from comedian Larry Semon.
Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
When Ollie died in 1957, his partner, Stan Laurel, pledged he would never perform again. Despite offers, he never did.
Used Babe Hardy for a screen name until convinced by a numerologist that the longer screen name, Oliver Hardy, would bring him success.
Billy Wilder planned on doing a film with him and Stan Laurel in the 1950s. The film would have opened with each of them sleeping in one of the letter O's of the Hollywood sign. The plot centered on a woman coming between them. The project was aborted owing to Ollie's failing health.
His father, also named Oliver Hardy, was a successful lawyer who died when Norvell, as he was known to his family, was ten months old. At a time when few women had careers, his mother supported the family by running a highly successful hotel.
Despite rumors over the years, he did not die from the effects of obesity--quite the contrary. Dieting on doctor's orders, he took off too much weight too fast, going from 300+ pounds to 150 in a matter of a few weeks, weakening his constitution well past the danger point. It was becoming dangerously underweight in this manner that brought about his final illness and death.
He was voted, along with comedy partner Stan Laurel, the 45th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Laurel and Hardy's films had and still have great success in Italy, where they are known as "Stanlio and Ollio". Their voices being dubbed into Italian in a very funny and colorful way accentuates their funny lines.
He and partner Stan Laurel have been and continue to be very popular in Germany under the name of "Dick und Doof" (Fatty and Stupid).
His voice in the Italian version of his and Stan Laurel's shorts and features was that of Alberto Sordi.
Entered St. Vincent's Hospital to have his tonsils removed the day after filming wrapped on Babes in Toyland (1934).
Is portrayed by John Fox in Harlow (1965)
He and partner Stan Laurel have been and continue to be very popular in Spain, Mexico and Latin America under the name of "El Gordo y El Flaco" (The Fat One and The Thin One).
He and partner Stan Laurel have been and continue to be very popular in Hungary under the name of "Stan és Pan".
In 1930, he lived at 621 North Alta Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
Suffered a severe stroke on September 12, 1956 that left him paralyzed and unable to speak.
He was the only child of Oliver Hardy and his second wife; both of them had two children from an earlier marriage; Oliver had two boys, and his second wife had two girls.
Still popular in Brazil where he and partner Stan Laurel are known as "O Gordo e O Magro" (Fat and Skinny).
Had a mild heart attack in May 1954.
Was a member of the Lakeside Country Club and close friends with John Wayne and Bing Crosby.
According to letters written by Stan Laurel, Hardy had advanced cancer at the time of his death from two strokes.
A heavy smoker, Hardy had been suffering from heart problems since the filming of Utopia (1951), and his weight had ballooned from 250 to 350 lbs.
An avid sportsman, Hardy became interested in hunting. After he shot his first deer, he walked to the animal expecting to field-dress it. However, the deer was still alive, and looked Hardy directly in the eyes. He never picked up a gun again.
A man of many interests, Hardy was an excellent cook, card player, golfer, singer and dancer, and unlike "Ollie", was always impeccably tailored. Off camera, he and Laurel both combed their hair straight back, as was the fashion of their time.
Lucille Hardy tells the story of Babe, her brother, and several others building elaborate chicken coops for the birds they raised. In true Laurel and Hardy fashion, they were too big to move out the door of the shed where they had been built, and had to be taken apart and reconstructed outside.
A popular Lakeside Country Club foursome consisted of Oliver Hardy, Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields and Babe Ruth.
Shared the nickname "Babe" with another beloved comedian of his time - Curly Howard. Hardy was named by a Florida barber because of his "baby" face; Howard by his family because he was the youngest, or "baby".
Throughout their association with Hal Roach, Laurel and Hardy had separate contracts, with Stan's salary being considerably higher than Babe's. This didn't bother Hardy one bit, as he acknowledged that Stan did much more than he during the making of their films.
His given first name was Norvell, the name his family always used. He took the name Oliver in respect for his father, who died when Norvell was still an infant. He also liked the "over the top" sound of introducing himself as "Oliver Norvell Hardy" in the films.
While he and Stan Laurel were between contracts with Hal Roach, John Wayne asked him to co-star in The Fighting Kentuckian (1949), a film Wayne was producing. Wayne and Hardy had previously appeared together on stage for a wartime benefit, and Wayne knew the value of comedy in his pictures. Hardy at first refused, fearing rumors of a breakup with Stan; but Laurel encouraged his partner to take the role and Hardy delivered a memorable light comedy performance.
Stan Laurel put Hardy's trademark "camera look" and his love of golf to good use. He held many of the "camera look" shots till the end of the day, when he knew Hardy was dying to get to the golf course. Hardy's frustration in these looks is quite real.
He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine Street in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.

Personal Quotes (4)

I don't know much, but I know a little about a lot of things.
[explaining his and Stan Laurel's success] The world is full of Laurel and Hardys. I saw them all the time as a boy at my mother's hotel. There's always the dumb, dumb guy, who never has anything bad happen to him, and the smart guy who's even dumber than the dumb guy, only he doesn't know it.
[his usual response when asked about how they made the films] You better ask Stan.
[on his physical grace and athleticism]: I hate to see big men lurching around all over the place.

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