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  Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema.
Active until: 1956
Members: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
Laurel and Hardy were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of thin Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and heavyset American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). They became well known during the late 1920s through the mid-1940s for their slapstick comedy with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous Hardy. The duo's signature tune, which is known variously as "The Cuckoo Song,"Ku-Ku" or "The Dance of the Cuckoos," was played over the opening credits of their films and has become as emblematic of the duo as their bowler hats.
Before their being teamed up, both actors had well-established film careers. Laurel had appeared in over 50 films while Hardy had been in more than 250 productions. The two comedians had previously worked together as cast members on the film The Lucky Dog in 1921. However, they were not a comedy team at that time, and it was not until 1926, when both separately signed contracts with the Hal Roach film studio, that they appeared in a movie short together. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team in 1927 when they appeared together in the short silent film Putting Pants on Philip. They remained with the Roach studio until 1940 and then appeared in eight "B" movie comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. After finishing their movie commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on performing in stage shows and embarked on a music hall tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland. In 1950, before retiring from the screen, they made their last film which was a French/Italian co-production called Atoll K.
As a team, they appeared in 107 films, with the pair starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films. They also made 12 guest or cameo appearances that included the Galaxy of Stars promotional film of 1936. On December 1, 1954, the pair made one American television appearance when they were surprised and interviewed by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program. This Is Your Life. Since the 1930s, the works of Laurel and Hardy have been released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 8-mm and 16-mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos. In 2005, they were voted the seventh greatest comedy act of all time by a UK poll of fellow comedians. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society are known as The Sons of the Desert which was named after a fictitious fraternal society featured in the Laurel and Hardy film of the same name.

Hollywood legend Stan Laurel told how he was ‘lost’ after the death of Oliver Hardy in an amazing collection of letters which are about to go on sale in Britain.

The type-written correspondence, written by Stan to his cousin in Cumbria are expected to generate huge interest when are auctioned in Newcastle.

In them, he writes of the ‘terrible’ loss of his comedy partner, and life after Oliver’s death on August 7, 1957.

He tells his cousin Nellie Bushby: “Deeply appreciated your kind sympathy over the death of my dear Pal, it was a great shock to me even though I had been notified the day before that the end was near.

“I miss him terribly and feel quite lost - can’t realise that he has gone.

“He suffered a great deal these last few weeks due to a cancer condition, so I feel it was a blessing he was taken out of his misery and pain. A sad end to a wonderful career, God bless him.”

Laurel was a heavy smoker until suddenly quitting around 1960. In January 1965, he underwent a series of x-rays for an infection on the roof of his mouth. He died on 23 February 1965, aged 74, four days after suffering a heart attack on 19 February. Just minutes away from death, Laurel told his nurse he would not mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she was not aware that he was a skier. "I'm not," said Laurel, "I'd rather be doing that than this!" A few minutes later the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had died quietly in his armchair.
At his funeral, silent screen comedian Buster Keaton was overheard talking about Laurel's talent: "Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man was the funniest." Keaton would himself die of lung cancer one year later in February 1966. Dick Van Dyke, a friend, protege and occasional impressionist of Laurel during his later years, gave the eulogy, reading "A Prayer for Clowns".
Laurel had earlier quipped: "If anyone at my funeral has a long face, I'll never speak to him again.
Laurel was cremated, and his ashes were interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery.