|Born||in Harlem, Georgia, USA|
|Died||in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA (cerebral thrombosis)|
|Birth Name||Oliver Norvell Hardy|
|Height||6' 1" (1.85 m)|
Mini Bio (2)
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), March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) 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 (1950), 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ollie's mother was Emily (Emmie) Norvell, a school teacher and daughter of Thomas Benjamin Norvell, a Confederate veteran who'd been wounded at Gettysburg. On 17 November 1880 she married T. Sam Tant, a sign painter, she was 19 and he 27 and died 7 years later leaving her with 3 children, Samuel Tant Jr, Elizabeth and Emmie and Henry LaFayette ( always called Bardy) on the way.
In 1890 Emmie married Oliver Hardy, a descendant of an old Georgia family, who'd served as a Columbia County Tax Collector while continuing with the family farm, which he started to sell off and moved into shops and eventually hotel keeping.
It's believed that he had 3 children from one of his previous two marriages. He and Emmie left Harlem for Madison in 1891 where he became manager of the Turnell - Butler Hotel. Emmie becoming pregnant and nearing her time returned to Harlem for support of her family and gave birth on 18 January 1892 to Norvell Hardy, who weighed in at 10lb. 10 months later Emmie was widowed again when her husband died suddenly of a heart attack and making matters worse she was dismissed from the hotel.
Undaunted she opened her own hotel calling it 'The Hardy House' equipping it with a piano which helped stimulate Norvell's early passion for singing which she encouraged. Despite her best efforts she was forced to sell the hotel in 1898 and was forced to move around with her children until, in 1903, she became manager of the large and somewhat run down Hotel Millledgeville, in the town of the same name, with the job of renovating it back to it's original position of importance.
Outside of school she would chalk up meal offers on sandwich boards and have Norvell parade around the streets wearing them. By this time her two oldest children were married, Samuel T Tant, an electrician with Bell Telephone in Atlanta to Mary, and Elizabeth Tant also in Atlanta, to Ira Yale Sage, a railway contractor. Daughter Emmie married W.I. Dickerman within a year of arriving in Millledgeville and 2 months before her wedding mother Emily married again on 4 February 1904 to C.F. Jackson, a railway ticket agent.
Sadly this only lasted about 6 years as in the 1910 census Emmie is listed as being a widow. Norvell and Bardy were enrolled in the Madison Grammar School but Emmie became unimpressed with their progress so sent them to the Young Harris Accademy in the Georgia Mountains then to the junior section of the Georgia Military College where Norvell, laden with a full back pack collapsed on more than one occasion while being drilled on the parade ground.
On the plus side the college staged regular concert evenings at which Norvell developed a routine of jokes, anecdotes, and stories interspersed with songs. When the college staged a production of 'Who Killed Cock Robin' there was only one choice for lead singer -Norvell, which was his first major stage appearance, and his big solo number got great acclaim.
He made the city bakery his own as the supplier of his favourite macaroons and muffins which reinforced the meagre rations at the college, On at least one occasion he got so dissatisfied with the meagre portions at college that he went back home and demanded 20 muffins as ransom for his return to college. His mother gave in, he went back and devoured all 20 in one sitting. Small wonder that he weighed 18 stone when 14. Always an inquisitive boy, one of his interests was the local paper and on being shown around the printing house he was allowed to feed the paper into the hand press which became a regular job.
It was thought his career would follow that path. As a mark of manhood he had a Maple Leaf tattooed on his right arm which became infected and swollen. It's unknown why the symbol of Canada was chosen except that it might have been the cheapest design available. Despite his size Norvell was always popular with the girls.
One who paid him the most attention was the daughter of the local circuit judge. Another had the use of her father's car and often took him for rides out of town. He had a fancy for the mayors daughter and there are stories of him serenading her outside a window.
The strongest relationship was with the sisters Edyth and Althea Miller. Althea would walk to school with him carrying his books instead of the other way round. He kept a lifetime contact with her, mainly by letter, and she appeared on 'This is Your LIfe' to give testimony of their schooldays relationship. He loved music and when he heard that Caruso was going to sing Aida in Atlanta in 1909 he vowed to do anything to see him.
One story is that his Aunt Susan took him to the concert, another is that he walked all the way there and back. Either way he saw him and knew that his destiny was to entertain using his fine singing voice. Knowing his passion Emmie sent him to have his voice trained at the Atlantic Conservatory of Music. but he soon tired of the lessons and when a new cinema opened he got a job singing to the slide shows between the films at $3.50 a week and got a taste for earning a living as a public entertainer.
As he watched the films, particularly those of John Bunny, a very popular, overweight comedian, he thought he could do just as well so in 1915, having adopted his late father's name of Oliver, he and his wife Madelyn Saloshin, who he'd married in 1913, moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where a number of film companies were based, including the Lubin Company for whom he appeared in some 65 films within a year of starting as a bit player and working his way up to being a lead comedian. He had an idea of creating a character based on a newspaper cartoon character called 'Happy Hooligan' who always tried to be helpful but inadvertently caused mayhem and disaster.
Could this be where Stan's character evolved from ?
- IMDb Mini Biography By: tonyman5
|Virginia Lucille Jones||(7 March 1940 - 7 August 1957) (his death)|
|Myrtle Reeves||(24 November 1921 - 23 February 1937) (divorced)|
|Madelyn Saloshin||(7 November 1913 - 17 November 1920) (divorced)|