Ask Lois Laurel-Hawes


December 2012

Hi there Lois
Just a quick question Can you remember what happened to stans hats and suits and all the props in there films do you have any of them i just love finding out where these items end up after all these years.My dad is 84years old and im 50 years old and we still love laural and hardy films and intresting facts about the best comedy duo.Look after your self Best wishes
Dave (orpington england)

"The derbies wore out, and of course many people wanted them. Theater managers wanted them to use for promotion in their lobbies. I have none of the hats. I do, however, have a fez from SONS OF THE DESERT. But I did not get it from my father. The CEO of the Western Costume Company gave me one. The suits and costumes often went back to Western Costume as well. They obviously received a lot of heavy use and usually had to be tossed. They looked worn out in the films! The props were either re-purposed, got wrecked, or were sold at the auction when the studio closed. I have the golf bag my father used in SHOULD MARRIED MEN GO HOME? But only because he used his own in the film.“

 Dear Lois,
I've adored and loved the films of Laurel and Hardy for the past years of my life, and I'd rather watch their movies then do anything else in life. I'm only thirteen and can understand how wonderful their films are, as can billions of others.
My question for you is that when you were growing up, exactly what did you feel or think if you ever went to a movie theater and saw your father's name, along with Oliver Hardy's as well. I ask you this question because I've always wanted to know what it was like going a theater and seeing Laurel and Hardy movies.
Thank you very much for your time and I hope to hear from you. Take care at this moment
Emma Hochhalter (Ridgefield,WA)

"I always felt very proud to see my father’s films in movie theaters, and especially so during the scenes which prompted laughter. That was gratifying, to see that the comedy efforts were successful. Nobody would know me, so it was a private feeling. Usually I’d got to see movies with my mother, and sometimes I would ask her if we could stay and watch the Laurel & Hardy comedy a second time! Then when I’d see my father later, he would ask me what parts I liked the best and why.“
Hi lois.
Mines just a quick couple of questions did your dad ever miss living in the uk,and did he ever express a desire to come back to the UK for good?
Steve (Manchester England)

"Yes, he always missed his home and was proud to be from England. He  thought about going back after Babe died. It was a possibility he did consider, because he had no interest in working without him. But he had developed a new life here, had many friends here, and he said, ‚This country has been good to me.’ “


November 2012

Dear Lois, I was wondering which of your fathers films and stage plays you enjoyed the most.
It would be so hard for me to say which film as I loved them all...Perhaps Them Thar Hills. But having read the Drivers licence sketch that is by far funny.
Thank You for taking time to answer my question.
God Bless your father and uncle babe for the endless legacy they have given us.
Thank you.

Tim Richard (Leicester England)

“I agree with you about the driver’s license sketch, I always enjoyed thet one. And my own favorite Laurel & Hardy film is SWISS MISS.”

Hi Lois, I hope you're well.
I, like most people here, got hooked on Laurel and Hardy at a young age. I'd always rather watch their films along with Keaton's, Lloyd's and Chaplain's, than revise for exams or do chores around the house...My question, what one piece of good advice did your dad give to you that really helped set you on the right path in life? Or indeed if you have some great advice, I'd love to hear it!

Ben (Oxford, UK)

“Oh, dear, let me think, because that’s a hard question. Hard to say. I went to an acting school, and Marilyn was in it, too, called Hayden. My father cautioned me ‘if you plan to go into show business, do it for real, not for fun, and have a no-nonsense attitude about it. Study your craft and take it all seriously.’ That was good advice. But i didn’t go into show business after all.”

Hello Lois. How very nice to talk to you like this. I would like to say that my father, Larry Jay, was in show business. I'm told he started out as a silent comedian in the 40s and at some point was in a duo called Jay and Kay(e)? Later he joined a comedy band called Dr Crock and his Crackpots. He died in the 60s but I understand he knew both Laurel and Hardy on first name terms. My older half brother once told me that he was taken by my father to the London Palladium when Laurel and Hardy were appearing there. I can't remember precisely when but either 1952 or 3? I'm told my father had met them previously because on this occasion they came out of their dressing room and excitedly said his name and shoock hands etc. Sadly I wasn't born then so I never had the opportunity to meet them myself but I just wondered if you ever heard your father talk about Larry Jay or Dr Crock and what your memory of them may be? I appreciate it's a long time ago now but would be delighted to hear your thoughts if you can.

Finally thank you for listening. It's a real pleasure and an honour to talk to you like this. Oh I forgot to mention, my father also knew Charlie Chaplin on first name terms but as with your father and babe, I don't know anything else other than that. Just wanted to share that with you.

Kindest regards,
Nick from England (Manchester)

“No, I cannot say I know those names. But my father kept up with talent back home and I imagine he knew who they were.”


October 2012

Dear Lois,
I have a quetion:
Did your father gave you a special gift, which is very important for you? I mean a material thing.
And thank you very much for your answers of all our quetions!

"One Christmas my father gave me a typewriter, a desk, a bottle of ink, a pen, and a complete office set-up. This was consistent with his lifelong interest in stationary stores as he would have loved to operate one! My father took the ink away from me though, so I wouldn't make a mess."

Dear Lois,
From the time I was about 10 I have been fascinated with Laurel and Hardy films. Did your father or Oliver Hardy spend much time with any of the Marx Brothers, Three Stooges or other comedians (apologies if this has already been asked)? Also, did your father choose the music composed by Leroy Shield to accompany Laurel and Hardy films?
Thanks and blessings,
Glenn Walker (Melbourne Australia)

"They didn't socialize with other stars and so I think they were just passing acquaintances, those other comedy teams. Lou Costello used to come visit my father at the ranch, however, in the 1940s, and wanted him to write material for Abbott & Costello. As for the music, I think that was selected by the film editor or the recording engineer."

Dear Lois,
I'd also like to thank you for giving your time up to answer questions from the millions of people who share a common love of your Father and Oliver Hardy. I remember around 1968 when I was much younger, and having watched the black and white films on the BBC, asking my Dad if either of the two actors were still alive. To my joy he replied that he thought your Father was, although of course that turned out to be incorrect. I remember telling myself that one day I would meet him and get to ask him all sorts of questions. To this day if anyone asks me if there would be anyone I would have loved to have met, there is only one answer that comes to mind.
Thus my question is this: do you know of any specific person or people that your Father would have loved to meet, but never got the chance to?
Many thanks for reading this. I do hope you will have time to reply.
Stuart (UK)

Dear Stuart,

"My father was impressed by his fellow-countryman, Cary Grant, and was happy to meet him when he made TOPPER at Hal Roach Studios. I think they spent a lot of time together later during the Hollywood Victory Caravan."


September 2012

Hello Lois
Hope your keeping well. I've loved Stan & Babe as long as I can remember, and have spent more time laughing at their films than anything else in my life, as have millions of others.
I know Stan & Babe used doubles for some of the more dangerous stunts, did either Stan or Babe ever receive any serious injuries resulting from the stunts that they performed themselves.
Boyd Greenwood (Burgundy France)

"It was part of the game, and performing comedy was often hard physical labor, so there were always bumps and bruises and soreness. I can't remember any specific serious injuries, except for maybe BABES IN TOYLAND. Of course they got together in the first place because of an injury when Babe burned his arm and Hal had to replace him in the role with my father, but that accident had nothing to do with movie-making; it was cooking at home! Basically if they knew in advance a stunt was dangerous, they used doubles."

Dear Lois
How are you? I hope you are well.
I asked you a question a few months ago and I wanted to thank you for your lovely reply.
Well, I have another question to which I would like to ask you.
Somewhere I had once read that your father had the opportunity to fly in a plane. But unfortunately nowhere is written whether your father did like or didn't like flying.
Do you know if your father did like or didn’t like flying? At that time flying was a whole new way to travel, locomotion. And so many people had fear of flying. Also still like today!
Sorry for my bad English. I hope you understand everything.
Thank you so much for your time
Best Regards,
Christine (Germany)

"He didn't care for flying in small planes, because of the turbulence. He would have been thrilled to see what everyone here in Los Angeles saw looking up in the sky yesterday when the Space Shuttle flew low -- as low as 1,500 feet -- all over the city around and around in its farewell flight before landing at LAX on the way to some museum."

There is a movie about Charlie Chaplin simply called "Chaplin" Charlie Chaplin is played by Johnny Depp. Have you seen it? If your dad was a fan of Charlies, I would bet that he would have loved to have seen that movie. One other question. I heard that your dad and Charlie Chaplin, and a few others came to America on the Olympic. I read this while reading about the Titanic. What was the reaction when they heard about the Titanic sinking?
Shelly Melnick (USA Minneapolis, Minnesota)

"Yes my father thought the world of Charlie Chaplin. I didn't see that movie you mention but heard it was good. I cannot recall anything my father ever said about the Titanic, but but it never discouraged him from one of his great hobbies, which was fishing, and there's even a website created by the the fellow who now owns my dad's boat. He is a doctor, and he restored it beautifully."


August 2012

In what city do you reside and does Stan Laurel have any grandsons? I guess that would be do you have any children who may resemble your father and have his talents?

Kate (USA)

"None of my kids or grandkids or great-grandchildren have show business aspirations. But every now and then one of them will do something or say something the way my parents did. My grandson Patrick, for instance, he wasn't trying to copy my father, but I saw a photo he was in at a family reunion we just had, and you could see the resemblance."

Dearest Lois,

From a very young age I adored Laurel and Hardy, and Little Rascal shorts, in fact I do not believe there has ever been a funnier comedy team period, even to this day I laugh the hardest watching their adventures. Now that I am older and have been married for close to twenty years, I believe Sons of the Desert, and especially Blotto, is the most brilliant, funniest, comedy piece of all time. My question is, did your father hand write his idea's for scripts, and scenes? If so, do you have any of works of this sort? I would love to see any examples you might have.
Thanks for your time,

Chad Shultz (Usa, Mogadore Ohio)

"My father always had lots of canary yellow note pads around the house, and you'd see him grab one of these when he got an idea for a gag or a scene. I probably have examples someplace."

I can add that if you read Jack McCabe's books, he covers this as well. After Hardy died, Laurel continued writing L&H gags, but by then usually on small individual pieces of paper, many of which he gave to Jack, who in turn gave some to his friends, including me.

Regards, Richard  

Hello. It is so nice that you answer so many questions for all of us fans. I've read some of the letters your father wrote and noticed he often ended them with "God bless." Did your father hold to any religious beliefs? I know many of the comedians were unfortunately atheists or agnostic (Chaplin, Keaton). But, I don't get this impression about your father. I know it's a rather personal question, but curiosity has gotten the better of me! Thanks so much and I hope you are doing well.

Ryan (USA, Moore, OK)

"He belonged to The Church of England, which is like the Episcopalian religion over here."

Hello Lois. I am a 64 year young man and I still love watching your father and Babe's antics on the screen. I started watching them at an early age and can't get enough of them. It must have been awesome to grow up with him and see him perform. I will always remember the way he used to smile and scratch his head and of course, wiggle his ears when he got mad! I remember watching on "This is your Life", with Ralph Edwards and an episode showed your dad and Babe being interviewed. It was hard for me to watch without wiping my eyes, BUT I enjoyed it immensley just the same just to see them off screen and no zany routines. I sadly remember when I was in basic training in the USAF in 1968, my parents sent me the article that your dad had passed along with his photo. I am proud to say I still have that article/photo in my album. I was devastated when I saw that BUT I am glad I knew him growing up. I also remember going to Universal Studios one year and met their look alikes. They were good, BUT nothing like the originals! Just sitting down next to them gave me chills and they did their routine for the tourists and got the laughs too. I believe they were in an Anco wiper blades commercial years ago sitting in a Model T Ford. Thank you for your time and hope to hear from your soonest. Take care. :)

Robert A. Abrams (USA/Alexandria, Va)

"Very nice. Yes, it was special, he was a special father, but nothing like what you see in the films. You probably know he was quite uncomfortable doing THIS IS YOUR LIFE because he didn't care for surprises like that where he was not in control."

I am 30 years old and have grown up watching Laurel and Hardy. My grandmother did not like me watching cartoons so I watched Laurel and Hardy movies! Thank God cause I loved them and still do!! My question is; Did Mr. Laurel have any regrets with his career like not doing more serious films? What movies did he like at home? Thank you so much! I wish I could meet you and give you a hug as a thank you for all the happiness and hours of entertainment I have enjoyed over the years watching Laurel and Hardy!

Samantha Cutshall (Meadowview VA)

"No, he had no regrets. He wanted to do comedy. Charlie Chaplin was both his friend and his idol. We didn't watch movies at home, only in movie theaters, and of course there was no television either. Late in life he watched variety show like Ed Sullivan's, he liked the better comedies like Alan Young on MR. ED because they both came from the same place in England. Of course he watched anything related to England."

Hello first of all I cannot believe I am talking to you! My father was a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, and I loved them too! We have about ten videos at home, and I have visited the laurel and hardy museum in Ulverston. i would just like to ask you did your father behave off-screen in the same nonsensical manner as he did on-screen? or was he a more serious type? thank you very much xx

Mairead (Ireland)

"Didn't I just take a question from you? Well, the answer is no, of course what my father did in movies was all acting. It was a character he created. He was always funny and fun to be with, but nothing like the roles he played for film comedies."

You look so much like your famous dad do you have any of his habits or mannerisms. I remember the way he would cry on screen, did you ever do that for fun. I'm so happy to connect with such a woman as you. Such a imperial connection to my happiness of theater. All my love,

Mark Santelli (Diamondhead MS)

"No, I don't think I copied wittingly or otherwise my father's habits. I used to tease him about some of them, such as smoking. He stained his fingers from smoking. I'd tell him to go get his hands washed. The filters on cigarettes would give his fingers, or at least his index finger, a mustard-colored residue, which he didn't mind, because he enjoyed smoking. I think everyone in his generation did. They didn't know what price they were paying for this habit."

I grew up watching Laurel and hardy I'm now 52 and still an avid fan .who was your dads heros?

Edward Cruickshank (Aberdeen UK)

"There were several people he regarded as, as you say, heroes. His own father was one. In the entertainment field, Charlie Chaplin was another. In politics, Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy were two he admired greatly."

Hello lois, it really feels so amazing to be talking to the daughter of Stan Laurel! The Laurel and Hardy films have brought laughter into my house for years. I found a video on YouTube. It was your father in 1961 with his Academy Award. I know he seemed very happy in the video, but was he happy to have won it? Or was he sad that "Babe" wasn't there with him?

Mairéad (Ireland)

"Both! He was honored, but he never got over the loss of his partner because it meant the real end of his own career as a performer."

Hi Lois, My Gt Grandfather (Albert 'Bert' Williams) was in the Fred Karno Troop with Stan and went to the US in 1910 together. I even have some photos, i can send you copies if you like. But have you got any info on Bert, or other photos of your Dad whilst in Karnos, that may include Bert, as I have very little info. Any help would be appreciated.

Best Regards
Gareth Williams (Leicester, UK)

"Oh yes, I know the name Bert Williams, and probably have photos, but everything is packed away where I cannot get at them easily. I remember he had a camera store in Santa Cruz at The Boardwalk. My father did talk about him, but I cannot recall anything specific."

I've had some insight in reading about your father that he kept fairly well up to date with British comedians in recordings and obviously during their British tours. Did he ever introduce you to comedians who would not have been known in the USA, Max Miller, Arthur Askey, Tony Hancock, Jimmy James, Al Read, to name a few? Are there other British comedians he was fond of?
Thanks for your time. Best wishes,

Ross (Manchester, England)

"I very much remember those names. Our home was much influenced by British culture. My nanny was Scotch-Irish, we ate bangers and mash, we sang the songs my father loved from the British Music Hall days, and he stayed in touch with many of his colleagues back home."


July 2012

Hello Lois, I asked you a question a few months ago and was very pleased to receive a reply. Thank you. I would like to ask you another question if you don't mind. What was Oliver like as a person? Was he a nice man to get along with? Thanks again.


"Babe was a gentleman, warm, courteous and kind, and more soft-spoken than you might imagine from watching the films."

Hello Lois, I am 13 years old and my family watches Laurel and Hardy films every night. Each one is genius in their own way and never once has it failed to put a smile on my face. I want to thank you for reading this, and I wanted to ask, how did your father come up with so many origininal ideas? Also, I heard he sort of "made up" each episode for Laurel and Hardy. How come he never got recognized for that? Thank you so much and I wish the whole world could enjoy their films again just like they did when they first came out. Thank you.

Lisa (America)

"My father functioned in several capacities in the creation of his films. I think the fans today do know this, and do recognize his many creative contributions. And why so many ideas? He lived for all this, it was what he really liked to do, create and perform comedy. He would be glad to know you watch the films every night!"

I heard an interview a week ago, were Stan talked about fans and fan letters. I know he answered all of them. What I'm wondering about, is how much time a-day he used on it.
I hope you have time to answer. I watch L&H every single day.

Best wishes to you and the Laurel family,
16 year old Øystein from Norway.

"Depending on his health and how he felt, my father could spend hours every day answering fan mail. He felt an obligation, and he did enjoy it. Many of the people he corresponded with were old friends."

I love you father's infectious giggle fits in WAY OUT WEST and THE DEVIL'S BROTHER. Were they real or just great acting?

John Chadwick (Orlando Florida)

"Of course he was acting, but when something was really funny, that was how he laughed, and he did laugh a lot."

Hi Lois,
I'm a massive fan of of your father's work. He was a
Comedy genius. Can you tell me please if Stan was ever
Home sick for the uk ? And did he consider himself British or an adopted American ?

Many thanks

Steve Small (Birmingham)

"Yes, of course, my father was proud of his country and missed so many things about it, particularly his family and friends."

hello, its really nice to be speaking to you again, two years ago, when i was aged 14, I asked you a question on this which was if you had any tips on writing funny scripts and youre reply gave me so much hope and i havnt stopped and even started posting my creations on youtube and i just wanted to say thank you, to you and your father for giving me hope that i may be a film maker. My question right now would be if you knew how long your father was trying to get into movies?

Zoe Holmes (Ireland)

"I am not sure my father was actually trying to get into movies. He wanted be be a stage performer, because that was what his own father worked at all his life, performing and operating stage shows. So I cannot say for sure his ambition was movies. He worked on stage for almost a decade before he got into movies. Back then in the early days not all performers wanted to be in movies and they actually looked down on them. Of course that quickly changed. But if that is your ambition, good luck to you."


June 2012

Dearest Lois, First of all, thank you for taking the time to give such great insight to your fathers work with Oliver, James, Mae, Jean and others. For me, Way Out West is their finest feature film closely followed by Sons of the Desert, I think the musical elements of the movies make them stand out for me.

Michael Tumalty (Bicester (England) )

"Lucille (Hardy) used to brag how beautifully Babe could sing, so I suppose he sang around the house, but I wouldn't know for sure."

Dear Ms Lois Laurel. My mother was a fan of the laurel and hardy films right from her younger days. When she bought me some films like The Murder Case, Going Bye-Bye,etc., I was reluctant to watch it at first. But after I started watching it I just couldn't stop. I got all the movies and i am still seeing them over and over again. How I miss them! Especially your dad Laurel is so cute, charming and always has an innocent look on his face. I wanted to ask you one thing, whether he was like that in real life or did he just do it for the sake of movies? Please give me a reply for I will be waiting with bated breath because my mother also wants to know a lot of things about her childhood comedy idol STAN LAUREL.

Aaditya (India)

"He wasn't the same off-screen, no. It was a different type of humor. But he was pretty funny all the time."

Dear Lois,
how are you?
Today, June 13th, is my birthday (32 years old), but I'll celebrate it with my family and friends Saturday, 16th. So, this year I'll celebrate it the same birthday of your father and it is a fantastic honour for me.
The day before yesterday I watched "Swiss Miss" and I wonder: the Saint Bernard dog, that there's in...was yours? Well, one of dogs that I saw in a photo with you, in your father's garden? I adore that scene, when your Dad pretends to be tired and half frozen; and he makes snow with the feathers of hans for persuading the dog to give him the flask of grappa.
I always wonder if that dog was of your father.

Elena (Italy, Milan)

"The St. Bernard we had was named Lady. They used two different St. Bernards which didn't belong to us for the film SWISS MISS. And happy birthday!"

Dear Lois,

I wonder how your father was at school. Did he told you some stories about it? Was he a good pupil?
And was your father and James Finlayson are close friends? They made a lot of slapsticks and movies together. Was it hard for your father as Mr. Finlayson died?
Best wishes to you!


"He was not a good student, and he left school early, which he regretted for the rest of his life. But at the time he wanted to study acting and be on the stage. He was always very close to Jimmie Finlayson, who was a dear person, and funny both on and off-screen."

What is your favorite memory of your father and what qualities/wisdom do you think he passed on to you?

Mariann (USA, New Springfield, OH )

"My favorite memories with my father were days spent with him at the Hal Roach Studios. And the lesson he tried to impart, over and over, was to get an education and to work hard at whatever it was that would turn out to be be your passion in life."

You know I was unaware that due to namely Hal Roach, that Mr hardy did a film 'Zenobia' minus your dad. This was in '39' I believe. How did your dad 'feel' about this at the time? Did he express any resentment towards anybody? Was he upset at Mr Hardy at all? (I understand that they were under separate contracts with Roach)

HK (Henderson, NV)

Lois answers, "No, definitely not, no resentment towards Babe. And it did not hurt his feelings at all when Babe made ZENOBIA, no."

I followed that up, and asked what about any resentment towards anyone else at the studio. Lois replied, "The only one my father ever had any resentment toward was Mr. Ginsberg."

I asked, "What about Hal Roach?" Lois surprised even me a little when she answered, "I never heard my father say anything, ever, even one word, against Mr. Roach."

Regards, Richard

Hello Lois. I once read that the end scene in 'One Good Turn' where your father finally gets the upper hand on Ollie was written because you were scared by the way Ollie pushed your father around on-screen. Is this true?

Callum Brooks (England)

"Yes, it is true. After that, I understood better what was going on."

As I once wrote you prior, your dad and Mr Hardy are much beloved by so many. Question Ms Laurel, I read that you were in the audience during the filming of 'The Chimp'. I know that it was a long time ago but is there anything you remember that day that you can share? Anything special for example, funny? etc
Did Mr Hardy visit your dad at your home? and if he did, was there ever a discussion that you may have overheard about their next film? for example, did they discuss 'blocking' or how they would work a sight gag? Thanks much!

Howard (Las Vegas, NV)

"I was in the stands, with my mother, at the Roach Ranch. But I have never been able to see myself in the film. Of course the camera does not come in close with anyone in the stands.

On your other question, Babe and Myrtle Hardy came to our house on Bedford one time that I remember. Then years later, Babe and Lucille came to my home on Tampa along with my father and Ida."

was your daddy as funny in normal life as he was in film and did he always make you laugh .I am 9 years old and think both Laurel and Hardy are very funny.

miss sarah martin (stanley england)

"How cute! My father was always funny, all the time, just not like you see in the movies. It was different because he was not portraying a character at home. And yes, he always made me laugh, and very much so."


May 2012

Hello Lois,

I have just watched some charming clips on youtube showing you as young girl at your family home. What a beautiful setting, I wondered what happened to that house? Where did you live and who lives there now?

Susan Coade (London, England)

"That house is still there, right where we left it, in Beverly Hills. I live in Valencia now."


April 2012

Hello Lois, thank so much for answering my questions a few months back, I was over the moon. I read some of your recent replies and really like the story about Stan and money growing on trees. A very touching and personal little anecdote, thankyou.

Would you be kind enough to answer another query? I have always been intrigued by Mae Busch, the fact that her life seemed deliberately mysterious, and that her legacy seems sad, like the fact her ashes weren't claimed for many years despite being married (her husband only outlived her by only 4 years. Although a very attractive lady, she sounds a complex and slightly damaged person. Some of her peers like Anita Garvin lived long enough to see that they would be appreciated for years to come, but Mae died so young and so long ago (1946?) Can I ask if you have any memories of her, and whether Stan and Babe spoke much about her, spoke kindly of her, or attended her funeral? In many of their "serious" scenes with Mae you can see them struggling to contain their laughter, so I'm hoping she was a fun person to work with.

Thanks Mark (Durham UK)

"I do not remember being introduced to Mae Busch. Your analysis is very interesting, and I agree with what you say. I think she was a 'Good time Charlie' type of gal. I have no recollection of my father attending her funeral."

Hello Lois, In your home movies when your father and Babe were in the video. There was this girl from Pack up your troubles were you like best friends with her? It's like you and her are sisters.

Hana (UK)

"That's Jacquie Lyn. We were close as little girls. We never knew what happened to her and then all of a sudden discovered she was living near us in the Valley. We had several happy reunions. She liked to play bridge and invited me to play, but I never played cards."

did they ever know how famous the were going to be

ryan chaytor (middlesbrough)

"You can read the story in Jack McCabe's book about the trip to Ireland. They were so humble, you know, and always overwhelmed by their reception. My father used to say, 'We were just a couple of funny comics. Little did we know how much love there was out there, all over the world.' "

Why didn't your father ever take a writers credit since it is widely known he wrote many of their bits.
2-Who came up with the idea for Oliver Hardy to stare into the camera for a take. Thank you so much.

Alan (Brooklyn,NY)

"Oliver Hardy came up with that himself, the camera-look. And it was not customary for any of the writers and gag men to receive screen credit for writing."

Dear Lois,
I know i have spoken to you before but i was woundering if you ever appeared in the laurel and hardy movies because i have not seen them all yet.if not would you of liked to be in any scene or was it just not your thing?
wish you the best.

Maria (England)

"Growing up I took acting classes at Bliss-Hayden (with Marilyn Monroe), but I was never serious about it. On just an incidental basis I was on the set and filmed for scenes of THE CHIMP, WAY OUT WEST and SWISS MISS but I have never been able to find myself in any of those films!"

Dear Lois
I have grown up watching Laurel and Hardy films and loved them so much. One thing that I remember above all the other great moments is your dad's laugh, it was truly magical, was it the laugh of the character or the real Stan Laurel laugh? Whichever it was I love it even now!
with warmest wishes

Julie (Birmingham, UK)

"Oh that's his own laugh all right, that was the way he laughed!"

Hello Lois...What was Oliver Hardys Tattoo on his arm?...Shows up very well in Dirty Work...Thank You


"I think it was a leaf, and he got it on a trip to Mexico."


March 2012

I would just like to say I have watched many of your fathers movies and I have to say I have loved them all .
I would just like to ask you did your father enjoy doing this is your life ?

Alan mc Donnell (Ireland Kells)

"My father was mortified to appear on THIS IS YOUR LIFE. He disliked not being in control, not having any time to prepare, and not being paid! Years later he calmed down about it, but at the time he was quite uncomfortable about the whole thing, which you can easily see when you watch the show."  

Who came up with the bowler hats idea?? and what other images or looks did Stan and Olly try before settling with there bowlers?? I was just wondering......Thank You :)

Jackie (stoke on trent)

"Comedians on both the stage and in films had frequently worn derbies well before the team of Laurel & Hardy, so it was nothing unusual. The middle class in England routinely used the derby for everyday social and work occasions. If you look at their many earlier solo films, they wore derbies less frequently."

Hello Lois!! I grew up watching "Laurel and Hardy" in Brooklyn, NY. They're the best! Question: Were your father and OH ever photographed with Shirley Temple?

Joan Claro ( USA/Rhinebeck, NY)

Dear Joan,
Lois said she has no knowledge of Laurel & Hardy being photographed with Shirley Temple.

Dear Lois,
as you come home with your first boyfriend, how reactet your father? Or as you said, that you will marry. Was he happy with you or somehow sad?


Dear Christin,
Lois laughed when she heard your question, but said she has "no recollection" of what her father did or said when she came home with her first boy friend!
Regards, Richard

hi I never send an e mail question before so here my question what your fave Laurel and Hardy Movie? and your Father always make me laugh the most and here my other Question did your Father really twisted Oliver's neck during Way Out West?
Laurel and Hardy never gets old
Matthew Machalski (Nottinghamshire)

Dear Matthew,
Lois has answered this question many times. Today she said her answer would be, "I like pretty much the same favorites as everyone else, especially WAY OUT WEST. The scene you asked about was the product of special effects, I think it was the work of Roy Seawright."

Regards, Richard

Hi Lois, what an honour this is to be speaking to the daughter of the late great Stan Laurel although i was born in 1980, i have fond memories of getting up early on a Sunday morning and watching your Fathers films with my brother. My question is this did your father consider himself an Englishman or an American? I only ask because of course he spent the majority of his life in the U.S but was obviously raised here in England
Kind Regards

Ross (Plymouth, England)

"Definitely an Englishman!"


February 2012

Just wanted to let you know that I was in attendance at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL where you and your husband spoke in the 1980s and still have the autographed picture of you and your father when you were around 10 years old. I grew up in the 1960s and watched the Laurel & Hardy films whenever they were on television and still enjoy them today. One can never tire of the L&H comedy. Best regards.

Lori Bowker (Rochelle, IL)

"I remember that; our friend Marcia Opal arranged that event. We all love Marcia in the Sons of the Desert organization."

Dear Lois

I have two questions. One question is what did Laurel do on Valentine's day? Second question is how old stan was when he did 20th century fox films and Atollk [utopia].

James Romero (Valencia CA)

"My father was born in 1890, so by the 1940's when he was at Fox  you can figure out how old he was! As for Valentines Day, he would always see that I got a heart box full of chocolate candy and some money to spend. So I was mighty happy on Valentines Day!"

Dear Lois,
I am certain that you get some pretty interewsting emails. Take a step back in time to September 1963. Your dad was pretty sick, but such a wonderful friend. I am the daughter of Johnny Guarnieri. Pop moved us out to HOllywood that June. I was heart sick. When we reached the hotel Pop introduced us to a lovely old man, Jack. And Jack showed us the workings of the mysterious murphy beds. Jack hung around all day amusing us and talking about people in show business. He asked me who would be the one person I wanted to meet. Stan Laurel my family chimed in. So Jack picked up the phone and called him. He explined who I was and why I wanted the chance to talk to him. Your father was ever so gracious and asked me to do my imitaion over the phone. "We know Jack simple as 'Uncle Jack Goldie' vaudevillian extraordinaire. You Pop and my Pop are gone...and so is uncle Jack. that may have been his name in the industry, but I would so like to find out what his real name was. He went! to weddings and ate most of the cake, he cleaned us out of turkey and ham ro roast beef on holidays, and when you would run into him walking across Hollywood and Vine he's ask, "
Whatcha doin here kid?' One might Mum replied, I'm stranded. And God love him he dog in his pockets to produce a few coins. Telling her that there is nothing worse then being stranded. I would really like to know which ciruits he traveled, did he really stand up at one of Chalplins weddings. Having a real name just might help me. I apprciaciate your listening to me. You did is still a huge part of my radio life. I broadcast 6 hours on Sat nights...the good stuff...the old time things that are politically incorrect but show Americana as it's funniest. I hope to hear back from you sool.

Christine Guarnieri AKA Chatterbox on WECS 90.1 FM Saturday night 6-midnight (EST).

"I do remember Uncle Jack, yes, and that he was English. My father knew him, so did Chaplin, but I cannot remember what his real name was. If you go visit that website with 'letters from Stan' or whatever it is, I know that my father mentions Uncle Jack to people from time to time in those letters."

As a life long fan of Laurel & Hardy i am the proud owner of some trousers worn by your dad in some of the L&H films. Do you know of any sources for such items or where they are displayed. They just sit in my wardrobe until we have some guests when i show them off. Kind Regards,

Mike Craig (London England)

"I know of one serious collector who does seek out wardrobe from the films, but I really cannot say where he has acquired them. Sooner or later they are freed up by the old wardrobe suppliers and get into auctions."

Hi Lois, first of all can I say what an honour it is contacting the daughter of someone who had maked me laugh a lot, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. A couple of questions for you, do you think a part of him died when Ollie died, and what did he feel about winning an Oscar (and where is it now?!). Kind Regards from England,

David (St Albans, UK)

"The Oscar statue is with the family of Ida. And my father was overwhelmed to receive this award. He never expected it."

if a film was made today who would you like to see play your fathers and Hardy's parts?

Tom J (USA NY)

I cannot tell you because I am not acquainted with the names of the actors working in TV and movies today. But really, who could portray those two characters? I couldn't see how you could do it. They were unique."

I just wondered if your dad , mr. hardy and james finlayson were good friends off the set. i know they were always the fol of each other on stage. i,m  61 YEAR OLD CANCER SURVIVOR  and have also done vaudeville work and barbershop where i impersonated your dad. music has really helped me thro this cancer experience. have always been a great fan of your dad, trev

trever, r williams (lehigh county, allentown, pa)

"My dad was dear friends with both, yes, absolutely. And I wish you success with your health."

Hi Lois - Just wanted to tell you that I've watched L & H all my life. Yesterday I had the chance yesterday to visit a movie theatre in Niles, CA, which was built in 1912, and still shows movies - both silents and sound. It was theatre where Chaplin would screen his movies when he was working there. I saw "Our Wife" - first time I had ever seen a L & H movie in a theatre, and the house was packed with everyone from young children to seniors. The laughter was just magnificent. I was thinking about how amazed and proud your dad and Mr. Hardy would have been to know that 80 years later, their movies are still being enjoyed and loved by so many! All the best

Joanne (San Francisco, CA)

"That is so true that they would be amazed to see how much audiences love their films so long after the movies were made."

I'm just a 66 yr old fan who wishes to say that your dad would probably like to know that he and the 3 of his wives who you liked have immensely succeeded at raising a daughter who is as gracious and generous as are you.

Your in studio interview with the English man and woman presented you as well-thought and self-confident.  Oliver would also be pleased that the little girl he too loved is as positive and upbeat, and kind enough to share such personal insights, large, profound and tidbits, too boot.

Here are a few questions about your dad's haunts in LA.  Did he have a favorite restaurant?  Did he buy a specific brand of gasoline?  Did he have shopping or dining habits, and frequent a local shop or locale, just because it made him feel good and feel alive?  Did you walk with him on the Sta Monica Pier or Malibu Pier or the Sta Monica Park edge, just talking and gazing out at the Pacific Ocean?

Lastly, would you share something about his smoking?  Did he smoke all his life from the time you could remember?  Did each of his wives as well?  It was so common then.

Thank you and I'm sure a huge, worldwide, multi hundreds of millions of fans hug, thanking you for sharing of yourself and your dad and his partner.

Gaudia Ray Sarna (USA, Ojai, California)

"My dad had several favorite restaurants, including Musso & Franks, the Pig 'n' Whistle, the Brown Derby, and he liked a particular Russian restaurant, and different English restaurants. As a boy he smoked early, as did all English boys. He had diabetes, and probably long before he knew it, because he hated doctors, and stayed away from them if he could avoid them. But once he knew he had diabetes, he was able to quit smoking. My mother did not smoke, nor did Ruth. I cannot remember about Illeana. Ida smoked, but would do so away from him."

Dear Lois,
You had mentioned Jock Mahoney living in the Stan Laurel guest house at one time and I wonder how that came to be. Did he know either your father or Rand Brooks?  He was one of the top stuntmen in Hollywood and I would imagine an interesting tenant.  Thank you.

Gene Freese (Chandler, AZ)

"Jocko had left his wife, was getting a divorce, needed a place to stay, Rand and I liked him, and were happy to help. His lady friend stayed with us too. They weren't with us long, just a temporary thing."

Dear Lois Laurel-Hawes,

I had the luck to watch the little movie "Roughest Africa" with your father. Its really good. I saw some tricks and cuts but I have two question about it: As your father was sitting on a trunk, next to him was a lion. And it looks so real. Do you know, if the lion really was sitting next to your father? How was it for him and James Finlayson to act with wild animals?
And in "Way out west" where your father and Mr. Hardy are dancing. Where did they learn the dance? Were both in something like a dance studio? I can't imagine how it was at the age.


"Oh yes, those were real lions. The studio got them from Gay's Lion Farm. They may have been older, and sedated, and subject to trainers, but they were real lions!"

Dear Lois,

thank you so much for your reply. You gave me a big smile.
Well, I have another question: I will sew suits like your father and Mr. Hardy had. Can you tell me, what color they had? Especially in Sons of the desert of your fathers grey suit. Mr. Hardy worn more black suits as a nice contrast to you father. But what color had your father's suits? Were they really more light brown? I looked around in the Internet but it couldn't answer my question.

Wish you all the best!

"I was a little girl watching them work, so I cannot give a definite answer on that, sorry, as they wore different suits in different films."


January 2012

Dear Mrs Laurel-Hawes,

I hope you are well.

I'd like to ask two questions, if I may. One of those is for you; the other Richard might be able to answer.

I grew up during the Sixties, so Laurel & Hardy were pretty much a childhood staple, But I also clearly remember a sharp decline in appreciation for their legacy, at some point: their comedies generally regarded as hopelessly antiquated - mere children's stuff, really.

Was your father ever aware of this, I wonder? Or were you yourself, perhaps, as a young adult?

I'd like to ask Richard how best to come by Laurel & Hardy silents. I can't find any on internet or DVD.

Thanks ever so much, both of you.

Peter de Bont
(London, UK)

Lois answers, "I really do not share that point of view. The Laurel & Hardy films were made for family audiences, and if anything, when my father was still alive, he remained surprised there was so much interest in his work so long after they were made. If anything, he underestimated his place in history."

Concerning the silents, while they are not included in THE ESSENTIAL LAUREL & HARDY DVD boxed set, you can find them in the Universal set, which came out in England in 2004. Best of all is what some of us did who are old enough to have been customers of Blackhawk Films (and I used to work there) and that is to have purchased 16mm prints of the silent L&H comedies. You can still find them for sale on ebay.

Regards, Richard

Hello Lois,
My father loved your dad's films and I came to know them from him.  I am a geography professor but my hobby is restoring and collecting player pianos from the 1920s. I enjoy the pianos and their music (on piano rolls)quite a bit.  In several films of your father and "Babe," there are player pianos.  Sometimes they are moving one up the stairs and other times a grand player piano is used for comedic effects.  
My question is whether or not you father owned a player piano? Or, maybe the Hardy's owned one, too?  Player pianos were pretty popular in the 1920s and 30s, both uprights and grands.  Thanks and take care.  

Mike Kukral (Terre Haute, Indiana, USA)

"One time Hal Roach gave my dad a player piano, but he did not use it much and I know today it resides in a home in Malibu."

Hello Lois

I love the works what your father and Oliver did. It was great! Your father must be full of ideas.
Well, my questions are:
Always when I see some pictures from your dad and you, he looks so proud and happy to have you. It opens my heart everytime. Was he mad at you sometimes? For me, its impossible to imagine. Not because of the roles he played, he looks alwasy so kind and quiet.
And in the home footage it looks, that you be scared Oliver somehow. Your father pushed you gently to Oliver but you would not stay at him and hug your father very fast again. Did you scared him?
And last question: As your parents divorced, did you moved with your mother or father?
Ok, thats enough from me. I wish you all the best and luck!

PS: Sorry for my bad english. If someone can correct me, that would be nice.

Christin (Germany)

"Yes, for a short time as a little girl I was intimidated by Babe Hardy, and for two reasons. I saw him lose his temper at my father in the movies, and also because he was so big, and I was so little! That's why they made ONE GOOD TURN, to show me how my dad could turn the tables on Babe!

There was an occasion I remember when my dad got mad at me. I've told this story several times. Whenever I'd visit the studio, he would give me some spending money. But I didn't ask for it. Once at home, however, I did ask for $10-20 in order to take my friends to the movies. Evidently while he was always happy to give me money at his discretion, he did not want me to ASK for it. So he scolded me, saying, 'Do you think money grows in trees?' Later, however, he re-thought this and was sorry he got mad. When "Tonnage" (Martin Wolfkiel) brought us all back from the movies, we saw there were dollar bills tied to all the branches of the trees outside! I wish now I had taken pictures of that scene with everyone laughing so hard at this sight!"

hi lois
it is a honor to send you a question about your father i have been to the birthplace of your father in ulverston lake district and the sunday school he went to and i stand in front of his house and i went to the museum i had a great time
what did you father do after he stop making movies did he had any kind of hobby's??

sincerly yours
paul remie (curacao  dutch caribean)

"My father did not care to work after Babe died. But he had many hobbies, including fishing, although his health precluded that late in life. He was always a prolific correspondent and answered thousands of letters from fans he never met. At one point he was interested in hydroponic gardening; that's where you grow plants in water. When he had the ranch he did a lot of this and liked to be known as a gentleman farmer."

For many lois you are the closet that many of us will ever come to the late and great stan laurel and oliver hardy.
i live not from from where your dad was born. i live in middlesbrough in cleveland -england. there is a statue of your father there as a memorial where he was born. i dont know if you know that.
i just want to say i am 40 years old this year and my 6 siblings and i with my mum and dad dont just laugh at them we have belly rolls and tears of joy.
may their memories live on forever. they truly were the great ones.
god bless them both.

Verina Horner (Middlesbrough,England,Great Britain)

"Yes, thank you, I was kept up to date on developments concerning the statue. I am happy to hear you enjoy the films."

Hi, Lois! My name is Petri Pelkonen, a 30-year old man from Finland.I'm a long time fan of Laurel and Hardy, those two had the gift to make people laugh.I would like to know who were your father's favorite comedians? Did he like the modern comedy? I've heard that Jerry Lewis wanted Stan Laurel to play himself in The Bellboy.Did Stan, even for a second, consider to do that? Did he and Charlie Chaplin meet in the latter years? Did you get to meet Mr. Chaplin?
I hope all the best for you in 2012! Thank you for sharing your memories of Stan Laurel.

Petri Pelkonen (Finland)

"No, he never would have appeared in a film with Jerry Lewis. My father idolized Charlie Chaplin. He admired Charley Chase and Jimmie Finpayson at Hal Roach Studios, too. They always made him laugh. So did Babe Hardy, for that matter. In later years he never missed THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW to see the new comedians trying to succeed in the business. The last time I saw Chaplin and my father together was when we went to Musso & Franks for lunch and Chaplin was dining at the booth he always took. They talked across the aisle with news for one another about things going on back home in London."

Hello Lois,
I've already written several days ago and thank you for your kind reply.
I have, if I may, some additional questions for you.
How was his relationship with other actors of his time? Did he have frequent contact with them or was he a 'lonesome' man?
Thanks to you in advance for your response and keep well.

Emmanuel Wylock (Belgium)

"My father was hardly lonesome. He had many friends, all over the world, from the stage, from movies, from his hobbies. Mostly he enjoyed industry people, and he kept in touch with them through correspondence. He was one of the best correspondents ever, anywhere. During his film career, I would say his closest friends were Jimmie Finlayson and Charley Rogers, plus Buster Keaton, Frank Fouce, Charlie Hall and his wife, Wee Mary Callahan and her husband, Art and Venice Lloyd. He enjoyed boating and fishing in Catalina and was good friends with Zane Grey. He had many friends. Booth Colman was his closest friend at the end of his life."

hey i cant believe you answer questions i think its amazing you are very very helpful to all l&h fans im only 12 but i love all of there episodes and movies they were two true comedians i'd love to ask you did you get a lot of things like clothes,toys and did you have a big house because your dad was famous? love to you and your family here from Scotland xxx

melissa mcmunn (scotland)

"I lived in large homes and I was a privileged child, but it was all low key. I did not have the kind of birthday parties some of my friends did. My mother would quietly give me a myriad of toys, and my father brought home endless gifts from the studio he thought I would like to play with, even a set of stilts!"

Hello Lois - With all of the technology today that allows anyone to watch pretty much anything at anytime, I'm wondering - what would your father and Mr. Hardy think about their work being so freely available for everyone to see? Would they be happy that people want to watch L&H films on new technology devices (like cell phones, ipods, computers, etc)? Were they interested in technology during their lifetimes? Thank you so much, your father's work has brought a lot of happiness and laughter to me!

Erin (Indiana, USA)

"I think all he could handle was the typewriter! He did love when the electric typewriter came in. Of course he would have learned how to operate a computer, even as I am trying to do now! He would have been in seventh heaven had he been able to do his correspondence on the computer the way people use e-mail today. As for your other question, I think both men would be stunned to see their continuing popularity, you know, that fans still love these films. They would be stunned at the response."

Bonjour Lois,
I live in France, we like very much as of persons the movies of your father. I shall like knowing if he liked France?
Spoke he about French?
I know that he liked very much the mime Marceau!

Excusez moi pour les fautes!
I wish you a soft and happy year,

Martine (France)

"My father did not really speak French, but he could understand some of what he heard -- enough of what he heard to get the general idea of what was being said. He went to Paris many times and of course loved it. Once (laughs) he took his sister there, and they visited The Eiffel Tower. But she was afraid of heights and did not want to come down, which seems like a contradiction, but that's what happened! This was why she never came over to appear on the THIS IS YOUR LIFE PROGRAM: she was afraid to fly."

Hello Lois,
I am curious if there are any photos of Fort Laurel that have been published. I lived on Strathern Street during my childhood (many years after Stan moved) and I remember playing with neighborhood kids riding trikes around the paths and walkways and long driveway and picking/eating pomegranates. I loved the place.

GP Warren (Santa Cruz, CA by way of Canoga Park, CA)

"Not many photos of Fort Laurel have been published, that I know of."

Dear Lois,

I hope this e-mail finds you well and you enjoy a happy new year!
It is an honor for me to be able to get into contact with you this way.

As a great fan of your father's and Babe's work since my childhood days, I have also read lots of books and watched nearly every TV documentary about them. What I would like to know: What was your father's favorite food? Did he like music as well, and what kind of in particular? How did he think about Rock'n'Roll and The Beatles for instance?

Thank you in advance for your reply.

Best wishes from Germany,
Stephan Memmesheimer

"My father was not fond of rock 'n' roll. His favorite dinners included liver and onions or the Cobb salad, but most of all roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. And he liked ice cream."

Hello Mrs Hawes , I have never sort of sent an Email to somebody I have never met, yet Laurel & Hardy have always been close to my heart , I was born 1963 so have only seen them in their films. Something about them just stays with you timeless I suppose.My question is did your father miss the UK when elsewhere and did he have any favourite places beaches , public houses , hotels , cities...
Your father seemed a very happy Character, and it's nice to know he had a daughter who lives on, I have only discovered this in recent years through the Internet .
As I said I have never sent an email like this before, so I hope you don't mind if I sent my address would you send me your autograph I will pay any postal costs.

Kind Regards Andrew Pomphrey (England..... Manchester)

"I have arthritis in my hands so I cannot accommodate requests for autographs, sorry. I can tell you my father loved The Palladium in London, and the West End, and everything related to the theatre there."

Hi Lois,
Thanks for taking the time to answer questions from Laurel & Hardy fans. As many here I have been a fan since my childhood, especially of your father, whom I would have loved to have met. I have two questions if you have time. I was wondering about your father's relationship with Hal Roach. Was it just business or were they friends? Also did you meet James Finlayson as a child or later? What was he like? Thanks again and I hope you had a good Christmas and that you are in good health.

George Powell (United Kingdom/Liverpool)

"Both my father and mother were friends of Hal Roach, my mother always, but my father had some professional disagreements beginning with BABES IN TOYLAND. And I did know Jimmie Finlayson when I was a child and he was so very funny to be around."

Dear Madame. I hope you are well.
I write from Belgium. I am a big fan of Laurel and Hardy since my childhood. Before television, we watched films of the tandem with an uncle who owned a projection equipment and coils of some short films. Since then, life has evolved. I myself have children to whom I sent the love of Laurel and Hardy. We have a dozen DVDs. The gags make us all laugh and are always, in my opinion, timeless! As the daughter of Laurel, you must be very proud to have had a father like him! But I guess he was not always in real life as in his films... The great comedians are sometimes difficult to live everyday ... You probably had to suffer a little of his passion for women and his penchant for alcohol ... Next year I will be going on holiday in the United States and via Los Angeles. To my knowledge, there is no museum in LA. Can you tell me if there a place in California where you can find personal items that belonged to the companions, objects and props used for filming, manuscripts, photos, .! ... ?
Also, can you tell me if your dad has reconciled with Hal Roach after their disagreement and their separation ?
Thank you for sharing your memories. I wish you all the best for 2012 and especially a good health.

Emmanuel Wylock (Belgium)

"There is no museum, but the business papers of the Hal Roach Studios are at USC, and the nitrate film material is at UCLA. What most fans do is to visit the filming locations. If you hook up with members of the SONS OF THE DESERT organization they can guide you. I do see photos and scripts for sale, or hear about them, and these are not hard to obtain. After leaving the studio, my father was never again close to Hal Roach, but they were always cordial. My mother remained a good friend of Mr. Roach."

hi lois, and happy new year 2012 , as i `m austrian it`s interesting if you know yoiur father ever has been in austria, because stan and oliver has been touring in some european countries like germany , italy, denmark ...
thanks for your answer

brgds franz

"The best source of that information is the website or book about the European tours by A.J. Marriot. He has made a study of all the places where they visited."





Ask Lois by Richard W. Bann