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Oliver Hardy (January 18, 1892 – August 7, 1957) was an American comic actor famous as one half of Laurel and Hardy, the classic double act that began in the era of silent films and lasted nearly 30 years, from 1927 to 1955.
In May 1954, Hardy suffered a mild heart attack. During 1956, Hardy began looking after his health for the first time in his life. He lost more than 150 pounds in a few months which completely changed his appearance. Letters written by Stan Laurel, however, mention that Hardy had terminal cancer, which has caused some to suspect that this was the real reason for Hardy’s rapid weight loss. Hardy was a heavy smoker, as was Stan Laurel. Hal Roach made the statement they were a couple of "freight train smoke stacks".
Hardy suffered a major stroke on September 14, which left him confined to bed and unable to speak for several months. He remained at home, in the care of his beloved Lucille. He suffered two more strokes in early August 1957, and slipped into a coma from which he never recovered. Oliver Hardy died on August 7, 1957, aged 65 years old. His remains are located in the Masonic Garden of Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood.
Stan Laurel was too ill to go to his film partner and friend's funeral. He stated, "Babe would understand."