Anita Garvin Stanley, a movie comedian who was teamed with British music hall player Stan Laurel before he met Oliver Hardy and later did knockabout routines with the two of them, has died. She was 88.
Mrs. Stanley died at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills on Thursday after an extended illness, spokeswoman Carol Kinsey Pfannkuche said.
Mrs. Stanley began in show business when she was 12 by lying about her age and becoming a “Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty” in a stage show. At 13, she was a “Ziegfeld girl.”
Producer Hal Roach--who gave the world the Little Rascals--later put her opposite Laurel. After Laurel and Hardy became a team, she appeared in dozens of their comedies during the 1920s and 1930s.
“I took pratfalls better than anyone else. You got bruised up once in a while, but it didn’t show,” Mrs. Stanley once said. “Stan and Ollie were terrific.”
Before marrying bandleader Red Stanley and retiring in 1942 to raise two children, she had appeared in about 150 of Roach’s movies and more than 200 others for various studios.
Stanley is survived by a daughter, Anita Patricia Stevenson; a son, Edward Garvin Stanley, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Services are scheduled Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Mel’s Catholic Church in Woodland Hills.