Laurel and Hardy

Oliver Hardy Death Anniversary: Some Lesser Known Facts About the Comic Actor

Did you know that Oliver Hardy's off-screen nickname was 'Babe' which was given to him by an Italian barber near the Lubin Studios in Jacksonville, Florida. More interesting facts follow.

One of the most famed comic duo in cinema, the adventures of Laurel and Hardy began in the era of silent films and lasted from 1927 to 1955. Oliver Hardy, who passed away on August 7, 1957, was inspired to become a comic actor after viewing film comedies.

Hardy joined the Lubin Motion Pictures in Jacksonville, Florida in 1913 and started by helping around the studio with lights, props, and other duties, gradually learning the craft as a script-clerk for the company. In 1927, Laurel and Hardy began sharing screen time together in Slipping WivesDuck Soup.

Roach Studios’ supervising director Leo McCarey recognized the audience reaction to the two and began teaming them together, which led to the beginning of the Laurel and Hardy series.

On his 62nd death anniversary, here’s looking at a few interesting facts about the actor:

— In 1921, Laurel and Hardy participated in The Lucky Dog. Both were the cast members before they were teamed up. Both also appeared in a short film in 1926. It was in 1927, they were officially a team and their first movie was Putting Pants on Philip which was a silent short movie.

— Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were friends and partners in crime in all their mischiefs even before they paired together in films. After Hardy passed away in 1957, Laurel was devasted by his best friend’s death. He retired from acting, refusing to perform on stage or act in another film without Hardy.

— Hardy’s off-screen nickname was ‘Babe’ which was given to him by an Italian barber near the Lubin Studios in Jacksonville, Florida. The barber used to rub Hardy’s face with talcum powder and say, “That’s nice-a baby!” After this, Hardy was as billed “Baby Hardy” in the credits of his early films.

— The first film to feature the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy as a pair was Putting Pants on Philip which was released on December 3, 1927.

— Before teaming up, both Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were accomplished actors with Laurel appearing in over 50 films while Hardy acted in more than 250 productions.

— Laurel and Hardy together have appeared in 107 films of which 32 were silent shorts, 40 sound shorts and 23 full-length features.

— Laurel and Hardy’s final on-screen appearance was in the 1951 film, Atoll K.

— Oliver Hardy was rejected from enlisting in the Army during the First World War due to his weight. His debut onscreen appearance was in the 1914 comedy film, Outwitting Dad.

Oliver Hardy did his signature ‘tie twiddle’ gesture for the first time in the 1927 film Sailors Beware. While it would later become one of his trademarks, he apparently came up with it by accident. During acting, Hardy, had been met with a pail of water in the face and just started to twiddle his tie, “to show embarrassment while trying to look friendly.”

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