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Laurel and Hardy

Laurel and Hardy, American film comedy team. The duo consisted of Stan Laurel, 1890–1965, b. Ulverson, England, whose real name was Arthur Stanley Jefferson; and Oliver Hardy, 1892–1957, b. Atlanta, Ga. The thin Laurel and rotund Hardy had occasionally appeared in films together before being purposely teamed in 1927. Their typical routine involved a simple set-up which is complicated by their zany antics and taken to wildly comic extremes. Their more than 100 films spanning three decades (1921–51) are marked by expert pantomime, brilliant physical comedy, well-defined character, and a special care taken with props. Laurel produced several of their films and devised most of the routines. They appeared in shorts until 1935 and in features until 1951. Hardy made infrequent appearances in straight roles without Laurel. Their best-known films include the Academy Award-winning The Music Box (1933), Fra Diavolo (1933), Sons of the Desert (1934), and Way Out West (1937).

See S. Louvish, Stan and Ollie (2002).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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