Aug. 10, 1898 Boston Suffolk County Massachusetts, USA
Jun. 6, 1979 Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Actor. He is best remembered for his role of the 'Tin Man' in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz." A versatile actor, he proved a good light comedian, as well as a descent singer and dancer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Irish Protestant parents, he showed early acting interest when at age 6, he entertained the congregation at church with his antics. His father trained him to be an electrician, and he worked for a while at the Boston Navy Yard. But at age 18, after finishing high school, he moved to Philadelphia in hopes starting a show business career. To pay the bills, he worked as a switchboard operator and as a hotel bellboy. He began his career by auditioning as a singer for a music-publishing firm. Using the money from that job, he learned to tap dance, and shortly afterwards, found a small job on the vaudeville stage in Hoboken, New Jersey, working as a singer and dancer in a touring company musical, "At the Soda Fountain," in which he played a young soda jerk that sang and danced to attract business. After this, he teamed up with Charley Crafts, with Jack Haley cracking jokes, singing and dancing while Charley played the straight man. Within six months, the two played New York's famed Palace Theater, where he was able to meet and make friends of many future stars, including George Burns, Gracie Allen and Jack Benny. It was here that he met dancer Florence McFadden, and on February 25, 1921, he married her. They would have two children. His son, Jack Jr., also became an actor, and later a producer and director. Jack signed for a series of stage musicals, including "Round the Town" (1924), "Gay Paree," and "Free for All." He began in films, with "Broadway Madness" (1927), and won some leading roles. His best film role is considered to be "Wake Up and Live" (1937), in which he plays microphone shy singer Eddie Kane, who is coaxed by actress Alice Faye into singing a great rendition of "The Phantom Troubadour." But it is his role as the 'Tin Man' in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz," for which he is most remembered. Ironically, actor Buddy Ebsen was originally cast in the role, but had to drop out when he proved to be allergic to the metal makeup. Haley continued to make films through the war years, with his last major film in 1946. During the 1950s, he pursued several guest and cameo roles in television, in such shows as "Desilu Playhouse", "Playhouse 90", "Make Room for Daddy", the "Jackie Gleason Show", and "Marcus Welby, MD". He died in Los Angeles in 1979 following a sudden heart attack.