Telling story of star’s childhood

a new book about comedy legend Stan Laurel will hit the shops next week.

The Making of Stan Laurel: Echoes of a British Boyhood examines Laurel’s family background, his formative years in North Shields and his struggle to get his showbusiness career off the ground.

It’s written by Danny Lawrence, who was born and raised in North Shields just a few hundred yards from Laurel’s old Dockwray Square home.

Laurel never lost sight of his roots after his ascent to worldwide fame, sporadically returning to his former home town of North Shields.

Included in the biography are photographs of Laurel’s boyhood, many related to recurring themes in the Laurel and Hardy comedies

Danny, a retired sociologist, said: “His films with Oliver Hardy will be well known to the older generation, and while the younger generation may not be aware of this great comic actor, they may be interested to know that many of today’s comedy stars, such as Ricky Gervais, readily acknowledge his influence on them.

“The book is unique amongst Stan Laurel biographies because it emphasises the importance of his British boyhood and explores the way in which his early experiences are echoed in many of the films he made in Hollywood.”

The Making of Stan Laurel: Echoes of a British Boyhood is available from Tuesday, priced at £29.95.

There will be a launch event at North Shields Library, in Northumberland Square at 7pm, next Thursday, June 30.

Laurel was born as Arthur Stanley Jefferson in Ulverston, Cumbria, in 1890 and died in the US at the age of 74.

A former pupil of the King’s School at Tynemouth, he lived in Dockwray Square from 1897 to 1902.