Fred Stone spent more than 70 years in show business. He went into show business at the age of 10 with his brother Eddie, doing a tightrope act for $3. Stone mastered practically every act connected with a circus.
Stone met David Montgomery in 1895 and began a partnership that would last for 22 years. The pair became headliners in minstrel and variety shows. Their first stage hit was in "The Wizard of Oz," in which Stone was the original scarecrow and Montgomery the tin woodman.
That partnership wasn't even close to being Stone's longest as he and his wife, Allene Crater, were married over 50 years. Crater had been dead for more than a week before Stone was told of her passing, as family members were afraid the news would kill him. Stone lived several more years after his wife died, although he was sickly and blind in his later years.
Among the musical shows in which Stone gained fame were "The Red Mill," 1906; "The Old Town," 1909; "The Lady of the Slipper," 1912; "Chin-Chin," 1914; "Jack O'Lantern," 1917; "Tip-Top," 1920; "Stepping Stone," 1923 and "Criss-Cross," 1926.
Stone was known as the "grand old man of the American theater" and wrote his autobiography, "Rolling Stone," in 1945. He was the father of three daughters — Dorothy, Paula and Carol — who all made their way to the stage.