Stan and Ollie: The Roots Of Comedy

Simon Louvish
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ISBN 9780571215904 Format Paperback
Published 02/09/2002 Length 544 pages

About Book

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy both passed away in the 1950s, yet their films still have the power to reduce audiences old and new to helpless laughter. There has been no comprehensive account of their lives and work, until now. The roots of their comic greatness lay in 19th century variety theatre. Lancashire-born Stan Laurel was steeped in the traditions of the music hall, and found himself touring the USA in the 1910s as Charlie Chaplin's understudy. American Oliver Hardy had established himself as a 'fat funny man' by the time he and Laurel were first paired in 1927.

Laurel inspired Hardy to forge their famous double act, in which Laurel played the eternal comic fool, Hardy his temperamental master. Both men were devoted to their professional partnership, which outlasted multiple marriages. They saw themselves only as jobbing comedians, but their great work in the years 1927-1938 ensured that they remain recognisable in the furthermost corners of the globe. Stan and Ollie completes Louvish's trilogy of definitive biographies of the great clowns of screen comedy, following his books on W. C. Fields and the Marx Brothers.

  • About Simon Louvish

    Simon Louvish was born in Glasgow in 1947 and misspent his youth growing up in Israel between 1949 and 1968, including a stint as an army cameraman from 1965 to 1967.

    Having decamped to the London School of Film Technique in 1968, Simon became involved in the production of a series of independent documentary films about apartheid in South Africa, dictatorship in Greece, and general mayhem in Israel-Palestine from 1969 to 1973. He also published a memoir of his Israeli days entitled A Moment of Silence in 1979.

    Since 1985 Simon has published a series of novels set mainly in the Middle East, including the acclaimed Blok trilogy (The Therapy of Avram Blok, City of Blok and The Last Trump of Avram Blok). His most recent Middle East novel, The Days of Miracles and Wonders, was published in the UK in 1997 by Canongate.

    Since 1979, he has also been teaching film at the London International Film School and writing for various newspapers and magazines.

    Simon Louvish is the author of a trilogy of definitive biographies of the great clowns of screen comedy, including Man on the Flying Trapeze (1997), the story of W. C. Fields, Monkey Business: The Lives and Legends of the Marx Brothers (1999), and Stan and Ollie: The Roots of Comedy (2001), all published by Faber & Faber. Further film biographies include Keystone: The Life and Clowns of Mack Sennett(2003), Mae West: It Ain't No Sin (2005), and Cecil B. DeMille and The Golden Calf (2007).

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