Arthur Stanley Jefferson (16 June 1890 – 23 February 1965), better known as Stan Laurel, was an English comic actor, writer and film director, famous as the first half of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy. His career stretched from the silent films of the early 20th century until after World War II.
Laurel was a heavy smoker until suddenly giving up when he was about seventy years of age. He died on February 23, 1965, several days after suffering a heart attack. Just minutes away from death, Laurel told his nurse he would not mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she was not aware that he was a skier. "I'm not," said Laurel, "I'd rather be doing that than have all these needles stuck into me!" A few minutes later the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had died quietly.
Dick Van Dyke, a friend, protege and occasional impressionist of Laurel's during his later years, gave the eulogy at his funeral. Silent screen comedian Buster Keaton was overheard at Laurel's funeral giving his assessment of the comedian's considerable talents: "Chaplin wasn't the funniest, I wasn't the funniest, this man was the funniest."
Laurel wrote his own epitaph; "If anyone at my funeral has a long face, I'll never speak to him again." Another statement was later found written down, which said: "If anyone cries at my funeral, I will never speak to him again." He was buried at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.