Today is the birthday of Hugh Fay (1882-1926). Son of Henry “Hugh” Fay of the Irish vaudeville comedy act Barry and Fay, the younger Fay got his start (like his sister Elfie) performing in his dad’s act before going on to support the likes of Lillian Russell and Raymond Hitchcock. For several years he was part of a two-act with the woman who became his wife Elsie Mynne.
The tall, thin, bony looking Fay was perfect material for Mack Sennett’s Keystone ensemble, and he made over a dozen shorts there starting in 1915. From 1917 through 1919 he was a director for Henry Lehrman at Fox Sunshine. From 1921 through 1922 he directed Lloyd Hamilton at Mermaid and Educational. In 1923 he directed Snub Pollard shorts for Hal Roach. He continued to perform and direct for a wide variety of other studios until his early death in 1926.
Here’s a clip from one of Fay’s best-loved directorial outings, Snub Pollard’s It’s a Gift (1923):
To learn more about silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc
To learn about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.