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 James “Jimmy” Finlayson

James “Jimmy” Finlayson

Birth
Larbert, Stirling, Scotland
Death 9 Oct 1953 (aged 66)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 20893 · View Source
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Actor. He was born in Falkirk, Scotland, and as a boy became an apprentice at his father's iron foundry. However, his desire to follow in his father's footsteps proved to be short-lived, as he later developed an interest in business, which he went to the University of Edinburgh to study. Around the time he was at the University of Edinburgh, he became friends with John Clyde, a famous Scottish actor of the time. Due to his friendship with Clyde, Finlayson became interested in a stage career. During Finlayson's early acting career he played comedy roles and supporting roles, and got his big break when he was offered a role in the Graham Moffatt play 'Bunty Pulls the Strings.' In 1912 Finlayson went to Broadway to act in this play, which ended up on Broadway for a total of eighteen months. While he was performing on Broadway, Finlayson also appeared on vaudeville with Alec Lauder in a sketch entitled 'The Concealed Bed.' This show was just as popular and successful as 'Bunty Pulls the Strings.' In 1916, one of his stage tours stopped in Hollywood, where he decided to stay and try to become a screen actor. After appearing in a number of films, he was noticed by the legendary Mack Sennett, who invited him to Keystone Studios and put him under contract for three years. Finlayson frequently appeared as one of the Keystone Kops, as well as being paired with the cross-eyed comic Ben Turpin in some other shorts. After his contract at Keystone ran out, he moved to Hal Roach Studios. Roach gave him his own series of two-reelers, hoping he might be the next big thing in comedy, but he never really achieved a lot of success as a solo artist. However, his talent for comedy did shine through when he was cast as a supporting player in two-reelers by bigger-name stars, such as Stan Laurel, whom he co-starred with nineteen times. He also starred in a number of films directed and/or written by Laurel. When Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were teamed in 1927, Finlayson followed them into popularity, eventually co-starring with them a total of thirty-five times, including two Spanish-language versions of their films and one film in which his scenes were deleted from the final cut. Some of the short subjects he played opposite them in include 'Do Detectives Think?' (1927), 'Big Business' (1929), 'Men O' War' (1929), 'Night Owls' (1930), 'Chickens Come Home' (1931), 'One Good Turn' (1931), 'The Chimp' (1932), and 'Thicker Than Water' (1935). Among the features he co-starred with them in include 'Pardon Us' (1931), 'Pack Up Your Troubles' (1932), 'Our Relations' (1936), 'Blockheads' (1938), 'The Flying Deuces' (1939), and 'A Chump at Oxford' (1940). His comic persona included a fake handlebar moustache (which he didn't wear when he co-starred with Charley Chase, however), a slow burn, double take reaction, raised eyebrows, a lethal squint, and a vocal utterance said to be the influence behind the Homer Simpson line "D'oh!" Shortly after appearing opposite Laurel in Hardy in their 1937 feature 'Way Out West,' illness forced him to retire from the busy schedule he had once enjoyed. His roles became farther and fewer in between. After his contract at Hal Roach Studios expired, he freelanced at various other studios, turning in his last film performance, 'Here Comes the Groom,' for Paramount Studios in 1951. He had also travelled to England several times late in life to make some of his final movies. Finlayson died in his sleep at the age of sixty-six.

Bio by: Carrie-Anne


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 23 Mar 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 20893
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James “Jimmy” Finlayson (27 Aug 1887–9 Oct 1953), Find A Grave Memorial no. 20893, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.