Hardy Before Laurel

By | Jan 18, 2012

It was towards the end of the Silent Film Era that Oliver Hardy joined Stan Laurel to form the comedy team of Laurel and Hardy. Hardy was in his mid-thirties when the pair joined and had already had a long career in Silent Films.

Oliver Hardy was born on January 18, 1892 in Harlem, Georgia and moved to Florida when he was a child. His birth name was Norvell, but unofficially to his father’s name Oliver when he came of age. To those close to him he was known as Babe, a nickname given to him in those early years.

While his mother wanted him to become a lawyer, Hardy fell in love with the new genre. His show business career began working and then running a movie theatre.

During the early days of film, sunny places were used. Florida became one of those early film locations. Oliver Hardy was hired to appear in those early films due to his large girth and expressive facial features.

He appeared in his first film in 1913. The film was called Outwitting Dad. After that he appeared in a number of series including the Pokes and Jabbs series of comedy shorts, the Plump and Runt series of two reelers, the Jimmy Aubrey series, and as an actor and co-director of comedy shorts for Larry Semon.

When Hal Roach brought Oliver and Hardy together the pair had appeared in the same film. He had a minor part in the 1917 film Lucky Dog that stared Stan Laurel. Although appearing in the same film the two didn’t have any scenes together.

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Also published at the newly designed SilentFilmEra.com


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