Jack Haley

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Jack Haley
Jack haley ragtime3.jpg
Haley in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
John Joseph Haley Jr.

(1897-08-10)August 10, 1897 [1] [2]
DiedJune 6, 1979(1979-06-06) (aged 81)
OccupationActor, comedian, singer, dancer
Years active1924–1977
Known for The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Florence McFadden(m. 1921)
Children2, including Jack Haley Jr.

John Joseph Haley Jr (August 10, 1897 – June 6, 1979) was an American vaudevillian, actor, radio host, comedian, singer and dancer best known for his portrayal of the Tin Man and his farmhand counterpart "Hickory" in the classic 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz .

Tin Woodman character from Oz series

The Tin Woodman, better known as either the Tin Man or (incorrectly) the Tin Woodsman, is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. Baum's Tin Woodman first appeared in his classic 1900 book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and reappeared in many other subsequent Oz books in the series. In late 19th-century America, men made out of various tin pieces were used in advertising and political cartoons. Baum, who was editing a magazine on decorating shop windows when he wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was reportedly inspired to invent the Tin Woodman by a figure he had built out of metal parts for a shop display.

<i>The Wizard of Oz</i> (1939 film) 1939 movie based on the book by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, currently distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history, it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Directed primarily by Victor Fleming, the film stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale alongside Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton with Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, Clara Blandick, Terry and Singer's Midgets as the Munchkins.


Early life

Haley was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Canadian-born parents John Joseph Haley Sr. and Ellen Curley Haley. His father was a sailor by trade and died in a ship wreck off the coast of Nova Scotia on February 1, 1898, when Jack was only six months old. [4] He had one older brother, Bill, who died of pneumonia in 1915 at the age of 20 after contracting tuberculosis. [5]

Boston Capital city of Massachusetts, United States

Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2) with an estimated population of 685,094 in 2017, making it also the most populous city in New England. Boston is the seat of Suffolk County as well, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States.

Massachusetts State of the United States of America

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

Nova Scotia Province of Canada

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).


Haley (far left) in a trailer for Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) Alexanders ragtime band4.jpg
Haley (far left) in a trailer for Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Haley headlined in vaudeville as a song-and-dance comedian. One of his closest friends was 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 gained him supporting roles in musical feature films, including 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. Haley was under contract to them and appeared in the Fox films Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Pigskin Parade , marking his first appearance with Judy Garland. Haley hosted a radio show from 1937 to 1939 known to many as The Jack Haley Show. The first season (1937-1938), the show was sponsored by Log Cabin Syrup and was known as The Log Cabin Jamboree. The next season (1938-1939), the show was sponsored by Wonder Bread and was known as The Wonder Show. During the second season the show featured Gale Gordon and Lucille Ball as regular radio performers. [6]

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

Fred Allen American comedian

John Florence Sullivan, known professionally as Fred Allen, was an American comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.

Newton Highlands, Massachusetts Village in Massachusetts, United States

Newton Highlands is a village of Newton, Massachusetts. Newton Highlands is largely suburban outside the village and the commercial district running along Winchester and Needham Streets.

Haley returned to musical comedies in the 1940s. Most of his '40s work was for RKO Radio Pictures. He left the studio in 1947 when he refused to appear in a remake of RKO's Seven Keys to Baldpate. Phillip Terry took the role. He subsequently went into real estate, taking guest roles in television series over the next couple of decades.

Phillip Terry was an American actor.

"The Tin Man" in The Wizard of Oz

Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley reunited in 1970 The Wizard of Oz Ray Bolger Jack Haley Margaret Hamilton Reunited 1970 No 2.jpg
Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley reunited in 1970

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hired Haley for the part of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz after its contracted song-and-dance comedian Buddy Ebsen suffered an almost fatal allergic reaction. He had unwittingly inhaled some of the aluminum dust that composed the majority of the components that went into the creation of his silver face makeup. Bits of it instantly began to settle on his lungs and within a few days of principal photographic testing, he found himself preparing to sit down to dinner one night only to encounter difficulties taking a regular breath of oxygen. The dust was subsequently converted into a paste for Haley in the hope that the previous catastrophe that befell Ebsen would not be repeated. This time around, however, a different incident occurred. The application of the aluminum paste to Haley's face resulted in an eye infection that led to his being off the set for four days of shooting. Appropriate surgical treatment was administered and any chance of serious or permanent eye damage averted. [7] Haley also portrayed the Tin Man's Kansas counterpart, Hickory, one of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's farmhands.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer American media company

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

Buddy Ebsen American actor and dancer

Buddy Ebsen, was an American actor and dancer whose career spanned seven decades. His most famous role was as Jed Clampett in the CBS television sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–1971); afterwards he starred as the title character in the television detective drama Barnaby Jones (1973–1980).

Haley did not remember the makeup or the costume fondly. Interviewed about the film years later by Tom Snyder, he related that many fans assumed making the film was a fun experience. Haley said, "Like hell it was. It was work!" For his role as the Tin Woodman, Haley spoke in the same soft tone he used when reading bedtime stories to his children. Oz was one of only two films Haley made for MGM. The other was Pick a Star , a 1937 Hal Roach production distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Tom Snyder American television personality

Thomas James Snyder was an American television personality, news anchor, and radio personality best known for his late night talk shows Tomorrow, on the NBC television network in the 1970s and 1980s, and The Late Late Show, on the CBS Television Network in the 1990s. Snyder was also the pioneer anchor of the primetime NBC News Update, in the 1970s and early 1980s, which was a one-minute capsule of news updates in primetime.

<i>Pick a Star</i> 1937 film by Edward Sedgwick

Pick a Star is a 1937 American musical comedy film starring Rosina Lawrence, Jack Haley, Patsy Kelly and Mischa Auer, directed by Edward Sedgwick, produced by Hal Roach, and cinematography by Norbert Brodine. The film, released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is mostly remembered today for two short scenes featuring Laurel and Hardy.

Hal Roach Film producer

Harold Eugene Roach Sr. was an American film and television producer, director, and actor who was active from the 1910s to the 1990s. He is best known today for producing the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang film comedy series.

Personal life

Haley (second from left) at the National Film Society Convention on May 30, 1979, (one week before his death) Jack Haley and Gary Owens.jpg
Haley (second from left) at the National Film Society Convention on May 30, 1979, (one week before his death)

Haley was raised Roman Catholic. [8] He was a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California. [9] He married Florence McFadden (1902–1996), a native of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania on February 25, 1921; "I met her casually" Jack recalled. "As show people often do, and we became inseparable." They remained married until his death. Flo Haley opened a successful beauty shop and had many film personalities among her clients. The couple had a son, Jack Haley Jr. (1933–2001), who became a successful film producer, and a daughter, Gloria (1923–2010). [10] In 1974, the younger Haley married entertainer Liza Minnelli, the daughter of his father's Oz co-star Judy Garland. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979. Jack Haley Jr. died on April 21, 2001. Gloria Haley-Parnassus died on May 1, 2010. His nephew Bob Dornan served as a Republican congressman from California.

Final years and death

Jack and Florence Haley's grave at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. Their son, Jack Haley Jr., is buried next to them. Jack & Florence Haley's grave.JPG
Jack and Florence Haley's grave at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. Their son, Jack Haley Jr., is buried next to them.

Haley's last film appearance was in 1977's New York, New York —in the lavish "Happy Endings" musical number, he played a host who introduces a top Broadway star at an award ceremony, played by his then-daughter-in-law, Liza Minnelli. On April 9, 1979 he appeared at the 51st Academy Awards ceremony with his Oz co-star Ray Bolger to present the award for Best Costume Design. Bolger announced the nominees, Haley the winner. Before he could open the envelope, Bolger asked, "How come you get to read the winner?", to which Haley replied, "When your son produces the show, you can announce the winner." Jack Jr. was the show's producer that year. Haley remained active until a week before his death.

On June 6, 1979, Haley died of a heart attack at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 81. [11] He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California. [10]

Haley's autobiography, Heart of the Tin Man, was published in 2000.


1927Broadway MadnessRadio Announcer Burton L. King
Excellent Pictures
Film debut
1930 Follow Thru Jack MartinLloyd Corrigan and
Laurence Schwab
Performer: Button Up Your Overcoat
1933 Mr. Broadway Jack HaleyJohnnie Walker and
Edgar G. Ulmer
Broadway-Hollywood Productions
Pete Pendleton Harry Joe Brown
Performer: You’re Such a Comfort to Me; I Wanna Meander with Miranda and Good Morning Glory
1934 Here Comes the Groom Mike Scanlon Edward Sedgwick
1935 Spring Tonic Sykes Clyde Bruckman
Fox Film Corporation
Redheads on Parade Peter Mathews Norman Z. McLeod
Fox Film Corporation
The Girl FriendHenry H. Henry Edward Buzzell
Columbia Pictures
Performer: What is This Power and Two Together
Coronado Chuck Hornbostel Norman Z. McLeod
Performer: All's Well in Coronado by the Sea and Keep Your Fingers Crossed
1936 F-Man Johnny Dime Edward F. Cline
Poor Little Rich Girl Jimmy Dolan Irving Cummings
20th Century Fox
Performer: You've got to Eat your Spinach Baby and Military Man
Mr. Cinderella Joe Jenkins/
Aloysius P. Merriweather
Edward Sedgwick
Pigskin Parade Winston ‘Slug’ Winters David Butler
20th Century Fox
Performer: You Do the Darndest Things Baby and The Balboa
1937 Pick a Star Joe Jenkins Edward Sedgwick
Performer: Pick A Star and I've Got It Bad
She Had to Eat Danny Decker Malcolm St. Clair
20th Century Fox
Wake Up and Live Eddie Kane Sidney Lanfield
20th Century Fox
Danger – Love at Work Henry MacMorrow Otto Preminger
20th Century Fox
Performer: Danger Love at Work
Ali Baba Goes to Town Himself - Cameo David Butler
20th Century Fox
1938 Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Orville Smithers Allan Dwan
20th Century Fox
Performer: Alone With You
Alexander’s Ragtime Band Davey Lane Henry King
20th Century Fox
Performer: Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning ; That International Rag and
In My Harem (DVD extra only)
Hold That Co-ed Wilber PetersGeorge Marshall
20th Century Fox
Thanks for Everything Henry Smith William A. Seiter
20th Century Fox
1939 The Wizard of Oz The Tin Man / Hickory Victor Fleming
(writer, uncredited)
Performer: If I Only Had a Heart and The Merry Old Land of Oz
1941 Moon Over Miami Jack O’Hara Walter Lang
20th Century Fox
Performer: Is That Good?
Navy Blues ‘Powerhouse’ Bolton Lloyd Bacon
Warner Bros.
Performer: When are we Going to Land Abroad
1942 Beyond the Blue Horizon Squidge Sullivan Alfred Santell
1944 Higher and Higher Mike O’Brien Tim Whelan
RKO Pictures
Performer: Today I'm a Debutante and The Music Stopped
Take It Big Jack North Frank McDonald
Performer: Take It Big
One Body Too Many Albert Tuttle Frank McDonald
1945 Scared Stiff Larry Elliot Frank McDonald
George White's Scandals Jack Evans Felix E. Feist
RKO Pictures
Sing Your Way Home Steve Kimball Anthony Mann
RKO Pictures
1946 People Are Funny Pinky Wilson Sam White
Performer: Hey Jose
Vacation in Reno Jack Caroll Leslie Goodwins
RKO Pictures
Last major film before retirement from motion pictures
1970 Norwood Mr. Reese Jack Haley, Jr.
Directed by his son producer/director Jack Haley Jr.
1977 New York, New York Master of Ceremonies Martin Scorsese
United Artists
This film marked Jack Haley’s final screen appearance.
Uncredited, (final film role)

Short films

YearMovie titleRoleNotes
1928HaleyismsJack HaleyAlso stars his wife Flo McFadden; Vitaphone production reel #2269
1930The 20th AmendmentWallace Moore
SuccessElmerPerformer: "Just a Gigolo"; Vitaphone production reel #1257-1258
1932The Imperfect Lover Vitaphone production reel #1324-1325
Absent Minded AbnerAbner Vitaphone production reel #1372-1373
Sherlock’s Home Vitaphone production reel #1441-1442
Then Came the Yawn
1933The Build Up Vitaphone production reel #1444-1445
WrongorillaElmer Vitaphone production reel #1486-1484
Hollywood on Parade No. A-9Himself
An Idle Roomer Vitaphone production reel #1531-1532
Nothing but the ToothSmilie JonesPerformer: "Smiles"; Vitaphone production reel #1542-1543
Salt Water DaffyElmer Wagonbottom
1939Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 9HimselfDocumentary/News Reel
1946Screen Snapshots: The Skolsky PartyHimselfDocumentary/News Reel
Screen Snapshots: Famous Fathers and SonsHimselfDocumentary/News Reel


Round the TownJack HaleyMay 21, 1924 – May 31, 1924Century Promenade Theatre15 performances
Gay PareeJack HaleyAugust 18, 1925 – January 30, 1926 Shubert Theatre 181 performances
Gay PareeJack HaleyNovember 9, 1926 – April 9, 1927 Winter Garden Theatre 192 performances
Follow Thru Jack MartinJanuary 9, 1929 – December 21, 1929 Chanin’s 46th Theatre 401 performances
Sang: Button Up Your Overcoat with Zelma O’Neal
In 1930, he starred in Technicolor’s film version
Free For AllSteve Potter Jr.September 8, 1931 – September 19, 1931 Manhattan Theatre 15 performances
Take a Chance Jack StanleyNovember 26, 1932 – July 1, 1933Apollo Theatre243 performances
Higher and Higher Zachary AshApril 4, 1940 – June 15, 1940 Shubert Theatre 84 performances
Higher and Higher Zachary AshAugust 5, 1940 – August 24, 1940 Shubert Theatre 24 performances
In 1943, he starred with Frank Sinatra in film version
Show TimeJack HaleySeptember 16, 1942 – April 3, 1943 Broadhurst Theatre 342 performances
Inside U.S.A. Jack HaleyApril 30, 1948 – February 19, 1949 New Century Theatre and
Majestic Theatre
399 performances

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