The comedy team of Laurel and Hardy made hundreds of movies, both shorts and features, and the two men were among Hollywood's biggest stars from the 1930s to the 1950s. Stanley Laurel was an Englishman, born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, England on 16 June 1890. Oliver Hardy was a Southerner, born Norvell Hardy in Harlem, Georgia on 18 January 1892. Both "Stan" and "Ollie" ended up in Hollywood working for comedy director Hal Roach in the 1920s. Their first feature as a team was 1931's Pardon Us,
after which they went on to make a string of classic comedies, including Sons of the Desert
(1933), Babes in Toyland
(1934) and Way Out West
(1937). Easily recognizable, Laurel and Hardy almost always played themselves in the movies: Laurel was the skinny, innocent one and Hardy was the round, bossy, blustery one. Their slapstick back-and-forth and hilarious incompetence at any job they tried delighted audiences, and put them in the same iconic territory as Charlie Chaplin
and Harold Lloyd
in their day. Laurel and Hardy's last film was a French production, Atoll K
(1950). Oliver Hardy died 7 August 1957 after a debilitating stroke; Stan Laurel died 23 February 1965 after a heart attack.