Masters of slapstick buffoonery, Stan Laurel, [Born in Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Lancashire, England, June 16, 1890, Died. Feb. 23, 1965], and Oliver Hardy, [Born. Harlem, Ga., Jan. 18, 1892, Died. Aug. 7, 1957], were one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy teams in the 1920s and ’30s with the skinny, sad-eyed Laurel playing the sensitive underdog to the obese, peevish Hardy.
Laurel, the more creative of the two, began his career as a music hallcomedian before settling in America in 1911 and teaming in 1927 with Hardy, a former singer and film heavy. On screen the pair portrayed clumsy, genteel misfits who turned minor problems into major disasters. Their mayhem can be seen in such short films as Putting Pants on Philip (1927), From Soup to Nuts (1928), Two Tars (1928), and Big Business (1929), as well as in the features Pack Up Your Troubles (1932), Sons of the Desert (1934), Babes in Toyland (1934), and Way Out West (1937). Although they made a successful transition from silent to sound films, their popularity waned after their departure (1940) from the Hal Roach studio.