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Columbia County Historical Markers

Oliver Norvell Hardy

  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Oliver Norvell Hardy
  • Location: Laurel & Hardy Museum on US 221 in Harlem


Harlem became the birthplace of the rotund member of one of Hollywood’s greatest comedy teams when Oliver Hardy was born January 18, 1892. After his father died and was buried in the Harlem Cemetery the year of Oliver’s birth, Mrs. Hardy took the family to Milledegeville where she became the manager of the Baldwin Hotel. Young Oliver was enthralled by the visiting troupes of performers who stayed there. Later, as manager of the town’s first movie theater, Hardy performed regularly.

After attending Georgia Military Academy, the Atlanta Conservatory of Music, and, for a short time, the Univ. of Georgia, Hardy left Georgia in 1913 for the newly established film colony in Jacksonville, Florida. After working at various studios on the east coast, he left for Hollywood in 1918.

“Babe”, as Hardy became known to his friends, worked for several years as a supporting actor until he was accidentally teamed with a young Englishman, Stan Laurel. Laurel and Hardy remained partners and friends until Hardy’s death in Hollywood in 1957.