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Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel

Dick Van Dyke delivered the eulogy at Laurel's funeral.

A comedian until the very last, Stan Laurel, just minutes away from death on February 23, 1965, 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 Stan, "I'd rather be doing that than have all these needles stuck into me!" A few minutes later the nurse looked in on him again and found that Stan had quietly passed away.

Although Stan is recorded as being born in Ulverston Cumbria, he never knew it. He was actually born in Ulverston Lancashire. Ulverston became part of Cumbria under the 'Local Government Act 1972' and became part of Cumbria two years later in 1974; nine years after Stan died.

An extra named John Wood from the film Babes in Toyland (1934) sued him and his stunt double, Ham Kinsey, claiming back injuries after Laurel and Kinsey threw him in the ducking pond on the set. The lawsuit specified $40,500 in damages, but was settled out-of-court.

Appears on sleeve of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

At the time of Oliver Hardy's death in 1957, Stan was too ill to attend his late partner's funeral.

Because the Roach studio was smaller than the majors, the indoor sets were relatively close to each other, and the actors often visited other sets between takes. Matthew "Stymie" Beard picked up Stan's Irish children's derby and wore it whenever Stan put it down. Stan eventually gave Stymie a hat, which became Stymie's trademark as much as it was Stan's.

Father of Lois Laurel, who appeared with him in The Chimp (1932).

Fell off a platform and tore ligaments in his right leg during the filming of Babes in Toyland (1934).

Had said that out of all the impersonations done of him, he liked actor Dick Van Dyke's the best. Van Dyke even got to perform that impersonation on one of the episodes of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) and after it premiered, he called Laurel to ask his opinion. Laurel said he liked everything but one detail, the hat wasn't right. Van Dyke said he found Laurel's number in a Santa Monica, CA, phone book.

He always thought that his "whining face" was humiliating, but the producers forced him to do it in most of his movies since the public loved it.

He and Oliver Hardy have been and continue to be very popular in Germany under the name of "Dick und Doof" (Fatty and Stupid).

He and Mae Laurel lived as a common-law couple, as Mae was legally married to someone in her native Australia when she met Stan in 1918. They parted in 1925 by mutual consent and Mae returned to Australia.

He had always been a fan of westerns, and after he became a success, his company, Stan Laurel Productions, financed a series of low-budget musical westerns starring singing cowboy Fred Scott. The films were made for and released by the independent Spectrum Pictures rather than Hal Roach Studios, which made Laurel's and Oliver Hardy's films, or MGM, which released them. The Scott westerns seldom, if ever, made any money, but Laurel's enthusiasm for them never waned until his accountants showed him that they were getting to be a major drain on his finances, at which time he reluctantly dropped his participation.

He lived his final years in a small apartment in the Oceana Hotel in Santa Monica. Always gracious to fans, he spent much time answering fan mail. His phone number was listed in the telephone directory, and fans were amazed that they could dial the number and speak to Stan Laurel[6]. Jerry Lewis was among the comedians to visit Laurel, who offered suggestions for Lewis' production of The Bellboy (1960). Lewis had even paid tribute to Laurel by naming his main character Stanley in the film, and having Bill Richmond play a version of Laurel as well.

He was a heavy smoker until he suddenly gave up when he was about seventy.

He was a staunch Democrat.

He was greatly admired by Jerry Lewis. When Lewis had his own production company in the early 1960s, he repeatedly tried to hire Stan for his creative team. Stan refused, despite the impressive salary. According to Lewis, he would send scripts to Stan who would read them and write suggestions in the margins.

He was voted, along with comedy partner Oliver Hardy, the 45th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.

His and Oliver Hardy's films had and still have great success in Italy, where they are known as "Stallio and Ollio.".