New book looks at the life of Stan Laurel’s father

Danny Lawrence at the Stan Laurel statue.
Danny Lawrence at the Stan Laurel statue.

A new book looking at the father of one of North Shields’ famous sons is being launched.

Danny Lawrence has written Arthur Jefferson – Man of the Theatre and Father of Stan Laurel.

It is the first ever biography on the flamboyant, multi-talented theatrical figure whose own contribution to the world of entertainment was overshadowed by the international stature of his son, one half of Laurel and Hardy.

The book tells a powerful human-interest story, set against the background of the major changes in the entertainment industry over a one-hundred-year period.

Danny said: “Arthur was a fine comic actor in his own right as well as a major influence on his son Stan.

“But acting was just one of Arthur Jefferson’s prodigious talents. He was also a successful dramatist and his plays toured the UK and abroad to packed houses for many years.

“The first film in which the Laurel and Hardy partnership emerged fully formed in 1927 was based on a comedy sketch which Arthur had written for the theatre in 1906.

“Stan had played a role in it as a teenager and it was Stan himself who wrote the screenplay for that crucial early Laurel and Hardy film, Duck Soup.”

The book describes the many ups and sometimes tragic downs in Arthur’s life, including his unusual family background; his acting career; the reception afforded his plays and sketches; his many years as a theatre lessee; his brief sortie into film-making, and his time as a theatrical agent.

It also discusses his two marriages, and the lives of his four children, all of whom followed him into show business.

He also spent time running theatres in North Shields, Wallsend, Blyth, Hebburn and Bishop Auckland.

Arthur died in obscurity in 1949.

The launch event will be at North Shields, Northumberland Square Library on Thursday at 6.30pm.

Admission is free but booking recommended. For more information or to book a place call (0191) 643 5270 or ask at any North Tyneside Library.