Snub Pollard (real name Harry Fraser) was born in Australia on this day in 1889. He began performing with an Australian vaudeville troupe (Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company, from whence he took his name) when still a teenager. The troupe came to the U.S. in 1910 and promptly fell apart. Snub stayed and began clowning in silent movies for a succession of companies: first Essanay, then Mack Sennett, then finally the Hal Roach lot, where his greatest success was as a second banana to Harold Lloyd , Laurel and Hardy and Andy Clyde, often under the direction of Charley Chase.
For a time, he tried his own starring series, but by the 20s, his outlandish look and style (the walrus mustache etc) were a little passe by then, a throwback to silent comedy’s earliest days. In the sound era, he continued to star in comedy shorts, and was Tex Ritter’s sidekick in a number of westerns.
From the 40s through the early 60s he has uncredited micro-roles in numerous major Hollywood pictures, including Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Chaplin’s Limelight (1952), Man of a Thousand Faces (1957), Heller in Pink Tights (1960), the 1961 Jerry Lewis movies The Errand Boy and The Ladies Man, and Frank Capra’s Pocketful of Miracles (1962). Snub Pollard died in 1962.
For more on silent film comedy, including the work of the great Snub Pollard, don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, released by Bear Manor Media.