Supporting Cast

Laurel and Hardy films became synonymous with several members of the Hal Roach Lot of Fun ‘stock company’ and James Finlayson, Mae Busch and Charlie Hall are recognised in the Sons of the Desert Constitution, so important were they to the Laurel and Hardy ‘culture’.

This regular supporting cast of comic actors are many and the most prolific are listed alphabetically below. Most are discussed in more detail if you click on their individual link:

  • Harry Bernard played bit parts as a waiter, a bartender or a cop.
  • Mae Busch often played the formidable Mrs. Hardy and other characters, particularly sultry femme fatales
  • Dorothy Coburn appeared in nearly a dozen early silent shorts including The Finishing Touch
  • Baldwin ‘Baldy’ Cooke played bit parts as a waiter, a bartender or a cop and the neighbour in Perfect Day. He had previously worked with Stan in Vaudeville.
  • Richard Cramer (also known as Rychard) appeared as a scowling, menacing villain or opponent on several occasions including Scram and Pack up your Troubles
  • Kay Deslys a plump comic actress who occasionally played Mrs Hardy, most famously in Perfect Day
  • James Finlayson, or ‘Fin’, was a balding, moustachioed Scotsman known for displays of indignation and squinting “double takes,”. He made 33 appearances with Stan and Ollie and is perhaps their most celebrated foil.
  • Anita Garvin appeared in a number of silent and sound films, often as Mrs. Laurel.
  • Billy Gilbert made many appearances, most notably as bombastic, blustery foreign characters such as those in The Music Box and Block-Heads.
  • Charlie Hall usually played angry, diminutive adversaries, appeared nearly 50 times with the boys.
  • Jean Harlow had a small role in the silent short Double Whoopee and two other films in the early part of her career.
  • Arthur Housman made several appearances as a comic drunk including Scram! and The Live Ghost. Apparently, he really was an alcoholic.
  • Isabelle Keith was the only actress to appear as wife to both Stan and Ollie (in Perfect Day and Be Big!, respectively).
  • Edgar Kennedy, master of the “slow burn,” usually appeared as a cop, but was often seen as a hostile neighbour or a relative.
  • Walter Long played grizzled, unshaven, physically threatening villains notably in Pardon Us and Any Old Port.
  • Charles Middleton made a handful of appearances, usually as a sourpuss adversary.  He was perhaps best known as Emperor Ming in the 1930s Flash Gordon series.
  • James C. Morton almost always appeared as short tempered bartenders or exasperated policeman.
  • Vivien Oakland appeared in several of the early silent films, and later talkies including Scram! and Way Out West.
  • Blanche Payson was featured in several sound shorts, most memorably as Ollie’s formidable wife in Helpmates.
  • Daphne Pollard Played Ollie’s diminutive but daunting wife, notably in Our Relations and the final short, Thicker Than Water.
  • Charles Rogers A long time friend of Stan’s who both appeared in, and directed, several Laurel and Hardy films
  • Tiny Sandford was a tall, burly, physically imposing character actor who played authority figures, such as cops in Big Business and Double Whoopee and Prison Guards in Hoose-Gow and Pardon Us.
  • Thelma Todd appeared several times before her own career as a leading lady comedienne.
  • Leo Willis appeared towards the end of his career, usually as a hard man, convict or crook
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