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Laurel & Hardy Lore

Norvell Hardy ca. 1892

By Randy Skretvedt

Since this is the debut of UCLA’s new website devoted to Laurel and Hardy, here are some photos of the Boys soon after they made their own debuts.  Young Norvell Hardy is seen at left approximately six months after his birth at 125 South Hicks Street in Harlem, Georgia on January 18, 1892 (the photo was taken at the studios of Edwards and Son in Atlanta).  For most of his adult life, Hardy was affectionately referred to as “Babe,” because he retained the cherubic features already on display here.  Young Hardy’s father died at 47 on November 22, 1892 and to honor him, Norvell as a youngster adopted his name, Oliver.

Laurel & Hardy as youth

At right is a picture of Hardy (left) at about age six, the only known photograph of him as a child. Arthur Stanley Jefferson (right)—who adopted the professional name of Stan Laurel in 1917 and changed it legally in 1931—is seen here at about age seven.  He was born to producer-writer-actor-manager Arthur “A.J.” Jefferson and his actress wife, Madge Metcalfe, in Ulverston, Lancashire, England on June 16, 1890.  Stan was born in the family home (the “Foundry Cottages”) at 3 Argyle Street in Ulverston, but around the time this picture was taken, the family moved to 8 Dockwray Square in North Shields.  Stan made his performing debut at seven, appearing as a newsboy in one of his father’s plays, “The Lights of London.”