Stan Laurel was the skinny and bewildered half of the famed Laurel and Hardy team.
In about 100 shorts and 27 full-length films — the best made at the Hal Roach Studios in Culver City — Laurel played the innocent, bungling scamp who unfailingly brought catastrophe to the 300-pound dunderhead, "Babe" Hardy.
Laurel made his stage debut playing a newsboy at the age of 7. At 15, he toured Europe with a song-and-dance act. At 17, he joined Fred Arno's London Comedians and spent some time as understudy to the troupe's star, Charlie Chaplin.
He made his first silent picture in 1917 but it was in 1926, when he was directing comedy shorts for Hal Roach, that Laurel was asked to replace a sick actor in a skit with an overweight comic called Ollie Hardy.