Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Celebrity Grave: Wizard of Oz "Tin Man" Actor Jack Haley 1979


John Joseph "Jack" Haley (August 10, 1898 – June 6, 1979) was an American stage, radio, and film actor best known for his portrayal of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. He also portrayed farmworker Hickory, who appeared in the Kansas sequences, in the film.


Biography

Career

Haley starred in vaudeville as a song-and-dance comedian. One of his closest friends was fellow vaudeville alumnus Fred Allen, who would frequently mention "Mr. Jacob Haley of Newton Highlands, Massachusetts" on the air. In the early 1930s Haley starred in comedy shorts for Vitaphone in Brooklyn, New York. His wide-eyed, good-natured expression landed him supporting roles in musical feature films like Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, Higher and Higher with Frank Sinatra and the Irving Berlin musical Alexander's Ragtime Band. Both Poor Little Rich Girl and Alexander's Ragtime Band were released by Twentieth Century-Fox.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hired Haley for The Wizard of Oz after another song-and-dance comic, Buddy Ebsen, who was originally set to play the Tin Man, had a near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup. The makeup was switched to a paste, to avoid risking the same reaction by Haley. The new makeup did cause an eye infection which caused Haley to miss four days of filming, but he received treatment in time to prevent permanent damage.[1] Haley did not take to the makeup or to the discomfort of the costume very kindly. When being interviewed about the film years later by Tom Snyder, he remarked that many people had commented that making the film must have been fun. Haley's reply: "Like hell it was; it was work!"


Haley's natural voice (which he used for the "Hickory" character) was moderately gruff. For the Tin Man, he spoke more softly, à la "Mr. Rogers," which he later said was the tone of voice he used when reading stories to his children. Oz was Haley's only film for MGM. Haley returned to musical comedies in the 1940s. Most of his '40s work was for RKO Radio Pictures. He surrendered the job in 1947 when he refused to appear in a remake of RKO's old story property Seven Keys to Baldpate; Phillip Terry took the role.

Personal life

He married Florence McFadden, a native of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania on February 25, 1921, and they remained married until his death. Flo Haley opened a successful beauty shop and counted many show people among her customers. (The establishment became known informally as "Flo Haley's House of Correction.")

The couple had one son, Jack Haley, Jr. (later a successful film producer) and one daughter, Gloria.[2] Jack Haley, Jr. was married to Liza Minnelli, daughter of his father's Oz co-star Judy Garland, in 1974. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979. Haley, Jr. died in 2001.

In 1972, Haley made his daughter, Gloria, the sole owner of his written memoirs. In 1978, she published them in the form of the hardcover book Heart of the Tin Man.


Death

Haley died of colon cancer on June 6, 1979 in Los Angeles, California, aged 80. Only a short time previously, he had made an appearance at that year's Academy Awards ceremony with Ray Bolger, who had played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. He was still active only a week prior to his death. He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.[2]


Filmography

Features

Broadway Madness (1927)
Follow Thru (1930)
Mr. Broadway (1933)
Sitting Pretty (1933)
Here Comes the Groom (1934)
Spring Tonic (1935)
Redheads on Parade (1935)
The Girl Friend (1935)
Coronado (1935)
F-Man (1936)
Poor Little Rich Girl (1936)
Pigskin Parade (1936)
Mister Cinderella (1936)
Pick A Star (1937)
She Had to Eat (1937)
Wake Up and Live (1937)
Danger - Love at Work (1937)
Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) (Cameo)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
Hold That Co-ed (1938)
Thanks for Everything (1938)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Navy Blues (1941)
Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942)
Higher and Higher (1943)
Take It Big (1944)
One Body Too Many (1944)
Scared Stiff (1945)
George White's Scandals (1945)
Sing Your Way Home (1945)
People Are Funny (1946)
Vacation in Reno (1946)
Norwood (1970)

Short Subjects

Then Came the Yawn (1932)
Wrongorilla (1933)
Hollywood on Parade No. A-9 (1933)
Salt Water Daffy (1933)
Screen Snapshots: Famous Fathers and Sons (1946)
Screen Snapshots: The Skolsky Party (1946)

References

1.^ Snopes.com
2.^ NNDB biodata


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