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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hanley Stafford (1899-1968)

Alfred John Austin was born September 22, 1899, in Hanley, Staffordshire, England. When he moved to America in the 1920s and on to Hollywood, he used the name of his birthplace to create his stage name.

He worked hard to create a perfect American accent. He had an incredible speaking voice... so refined. In the 1930s, he performed as an actor or announcer on many programs. He was on Popeye, Flash Gordon, Calling All Cars, Jungle Jim, and many, many others.

It was thought, since he was English he could play the part of a police inspector on the radio serial, The Shadow of Fu Manchu. Unfortunately, he had worked so hard to lose his English accent, it was gone. But since all of the other actors on the series were American.

He made a name for himself as Daddy on the Baby Snooks radio program with Fanny Brice. Before this, he was
Snapper Snick Crocodile on the Cinnamon Bear.

In the 1940s, he began acting in movies, including some which were filmed in the United Kingdom. In the 1950s, after the death of Fanny Brice, he worked some in television. He married Veola Vonn in 1940.

Hanley Stafford died at his home in Hollywood on September 9, 1968, of a heart attack. He was only 67 years old. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale (in a mausoleum) with his mother. After he died, his wife married fellow radio actor Frank Nelson. Both Veola and Frank are also entombed in the same crypt, along with his mother, who died in 1961.

1 comment:

Chad Henson said...

Hanley Stafford was a wonderful character actor. He is terrific in the 1941 film, 'SWING IT SOLDIER' with the Glorious Frances Langford, also starring Ken Murray, Iris Adrian and Don Wilson (Yes, Jack Benny's Don Wilson) He does a great scene with Elvia Allman. He is worth investigating.

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