What was Stan Laurel’s Net Worth?
Stan Laurel was an English comic actor, writer and director who had a net worth of $50 thousand at the time of his death in 1965. Unfortunately, Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel never benefited financially in a meaningful way from their massive success. At the end of his life in the early 1960s, Stan Laurel was living in a cheap Santa Monica apartment out of necessity. The duo claimed that much of their money went to producers and managers who technically owned their image. For Stan Laurel, he also lost much of his fortune in several divorces.
Stan Laurel was best known for being one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy with Oliver Hardy. The duo starred in more than 100 feature films, shorts, and cameo roles. Laurel started out in the British music hall and perfected his skills at pantomime. He served as Charlie Chaplin’s understudy as a member of Fred Karno’s Army. Laurel’s acting career lasted from 1917 to 1951 in silent films and talkies. He starred in the 1932 movie “The Music Box.”
Stan Laurel received a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in 1961 and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. A bronze statue of Laurel and Hardy was unveiled in his hometown in 2009. Laurel and Hardy’s signature song has been known as “Ku-Ku”, “The Cuckoo Song” or “The Dance of the Cuckoos” and played over their opening film credits. Stan Laurel passed away on February 23, 1965 at the age of 74 from a heart attack.
Laurel was born on June 16, 1890 in Ulverston, Lancashire, England and given the name Arthur Stanley Jefferson. His father, Arthur J. Jefferson, was an actor and theatre manager and his mother, Margaret, was an actress. He was one of five children and grew up in the theatre world, as his parents were very active in that community. He also spent much of his early years living with his maternal grandmother, attending a number of different schools. When he was older, he moved with his parents to Glasgow, Scotland where he completed his education at Rutherglen Academy. At the age of 16, he gave his first performance on stage at the Panopticon in Glasgow. He continued developing his pantomime skills there and also developed a number of sketches.
In 1912, Laurel began working with Ted Desmond on tour in the Netherlands and in Belgium as the comedy double act known as the Barto Bros. Laurel left England for the United States shortly afterward but maintained a lifelong friendship with Desmond. He joined the Fred Karno troupe of actors, which also included a young Charlie Chaplin. The troupe broke up in the spring of 1914 and Laurel joined with two other former performers, Edgar and Ethel Hurley, to form The Keystone Trio. He later teamed up with Alice and Baldwin Cooke to form the Stan Jefferson Trio.
In 1921, he adopted the stage name of Laurel at the suggestion of Mae Dahlberg, whom he would go on to have a personal and professional relationship with. He also began booking film roles. In 1924, he had given up stage work to work in film full-time under a contract with Joe Rock for 12 two-reel comedies. These included “Mandarin Mix-Up,” “Somewhere in Wrong,” “Monsieur Don’t Care,” and “The Sleuth,” among others. Laurel was credited for directing or co-directing ten silent shorts between 1925 and 1927. Though he did not appear in any of them, actor and comedian Oliver Hardy did.
Beginning in 1927, Laurel and Hardy began working together onscreen in several short films. The two became friends and their comedic chemistry became obvious. Audiences loved seeing the duo together, which led to the creation of the Laurel and Hardy series. The duo produced a huge collection of short films including “The Battle of the Century,” “Big Business,” and “Should Married Men Go Home?” They then successfully transitioned to talking films with “Unaccustomed As We Are” in 1929. They also appeared in their first feature film in 1930 and in 1931 appeared in the musical feature film “The Rogue Song.” In 1932, their short film “The Music Box” won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.
During the 1930s, Laurel was involved in a dispute with Hal Roach, who was the head of Roach Studios with whom Laurel and Hardy had a contract. This resulted in temporary hiatus of working with Hardy until the dispute was settled. Their first feature film together following the dispute came in 1939 with the release of “A Chump at Oxford.”
In 1941, Laurel and Hardy signed a contract at 20th Century Fox to make ten films in five years. They later signed another contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, which resulted in two more features. In 1947, Laurel and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom performing variety shows, which included a performance in front of King George VI and his consort Queen Elizabeth.
The duo continued working together throughout the rest of the 1940s and into the 1950s until Hardy’s death in 1957. Laurel was reportedly devasted by his death and never fully recovered from it. He refused to perform on stage or act in another film, as he had no interest in working without Hardy. However, he remained gracious to his fans and spent much time answering fan mail and talking with fans on the phone.
Laurel had a long-term relationship with Mae Dahlberg from 1919 to 1925, though they never married. Their relationship ended when Dahlberg accepted a one-way ticket back to her native Australia in 1925. He subsequently had four marriages. His first wife was Lois Neilson, whom he married in 1926. They had a daughter together, Lois, in 1927, and a son, Stanley, in 1930. However, he was born two months early and only lived for nine days. In 1935, Laurel married Virginia Ruth Rogers but the two divorced in 1937. The following year, he married Vera Ivanova Shuvalova. The marriage was very volatile and Vera accused Laurel of attempting to bury her alive in their back yard at one point. They separated in 1939 and divorced in 1940. In 1941, Laurel remarried Virginia Ruth Rogers though the couple divorced again in 1946. A couple months later, he married Ida Kitaeva Raphael. They remained married until Laurel’s death.
Laurel had been a heavy smoker throughout his life until suddenly quitting around 1960. In February of 1965, he suffered a sudden heart attack and died quietly while being treated by a nurse. His funeral was attended by friends and colleagues like Buster Keaton and Dick Van Dyke. He was interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery.