Laurel and Hardy
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Laurel and Hardy were an American-based comedy duo who became famous during the early half of the 20th century for their work in motion pictures. The members of the duo were the thin British-born-and-reared Stan Laurel and his heavier American partner from the state of Georgia, Oliver Hardy. The pair is considered among the most famous and finest double acts in cinema history. Each brought talents from his solo career to the team.
The two comedians worked together briefly in 1919 on The Lucky Dog, released in 1921. After a period appearing separately in several short films for the Hal Roach studio during the 1920s, they began appearing in movie shorts together in 1926, and Laurel and Hardy officially became a team in 1927. They became Hal Roach's most famous and lucrative stars. Among their most popular and successful films were the features Sons of the Desert (1933), Way Out West (1937), and Block-Heads (1938); and the shorts Big Business (1929), Helpmates (1932), and their Academy Award-winning short, The Music Box (1932).
The pair left the Roach studio in 1940; then appeared in eight low-budget comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. From 1945 to 1950, they did not appear on film and concentrated on their stage show. They made their last film, Atoll K, in France in 1950 and 1951 before retiring from the screen. In total, they appeared together in 106 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 feature films, and in the remaining 11 films, had a guest or cameo appearance.