Charlie Hall (actor)

Charlie Hall (19 August 1899 - 7 December 1959) was an English film actor. He is best known as the "Little Nemesis" of Laurel and Hardy. He appeared in nearly 50 films with them, making Hall the most frequent supporting actor in the comedy duo's productions.

Charlie Hall
Born(1899-08-19)19 August 1899
Died7 December 1959(1959-12-07) (aged 60)
Years active1921–1956
Spouse(s)Wilda George
Dolly Gray (?–1937) (her death)

Life and career

Hall was born in Ward End, Birmingham, Warwickshire, and learned carpentry as a trade; however, as a teenager, he became a member of the Fred Karno troupe of stage comedians.[1] In his late teens, he visited his sister in New York City and stayed there, finding employment as a stagehand. While working behind the scenes, he met the comic actor Bobby Dunn and they became friends; Dunn convinced Hall to take a stab again at acting, which he did. By the mid-1920s, Hall was working for Hal Roach. Stan Laurel, one of Roach's comedy stars, was also a graduate of the Karno troupe.

As an actor, Hall worked with such comedians as Buster Keaton and Charley Chase, but he is best remembered as a comic foil for Laurel and Hardy. He appeared in nearly 50 of their films, sometimes in bit parts, but often as a mean landlord or opponent in many of their memorable tit-for-tat sequences. Unlike the usual villains in Laurel and Hardy films, who were big and burly, Charlie Hall (billed as "Charley" Hall in the Roach comedies) was of short stature, standing 5 ft 5 in tall. His height and slight English accent allowed him to be convincingly cast as a college student, despite being 40 years old, in Laurel and Hardy's A Chump at Oxford.

Hall almost never played starring roles; the exception was in 1941, when he was teamed with character comedian Frank Faylen by Monogram Pictures. Hall continued to play bits and supporting roles in short subjects and features through the 1940s and 1950s, occasionally on television, and appearing briefly in Charlie Chaplin's final American film, Limelight (1952).

In 1956 he played his final roles, firstly in the TV show Cheyenne, season 1, episode 11, "Quicksand", and finally in a Joe McDoakes short, So You Want to Play the Piano.

Death and legacy

Hall died in North Hollywood, California, on 7 December 1959. A J D Wetherspoon's public house in the Erdington suburb of Birmingham is named The Charlie Hall in tribute to him.[2]

Further reading

  • McKeown, Dean (2009). The Charlie Hall Picture Archive. The Nutty Nut News Network Press.

References

  1. Gordon, Dr Roger L. (2018). Supporting Actors in Motion Pictures: Volume II. Dorrance Publishing. ISBN 9781480958418. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  2. "The Charlie Hall". www.jdwetherspoon.com. Retrieved 2 November 2018.


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