Stone in 1919
August 19, 1873|
|Died||March 6, 1959
North Hollywood, California
|Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)|
|Occupation||Stage, film actor|
|Spouse(s)||Allene Crater (m. 1904–57)|
Fred Andrew Stone (August 19, 1873 – March 6, 1959) was an American actor. Stone began his career as a performer in circuses and minstrel shows, went on to act on vaudeville, and became a star on Broadway and in feature films, which earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He was particularly famous for appearing on stage opposite David C. Montgomery, a 22-year partnership until Montgomery's death in 1917, in shows such as The Wizard of Oz premiering in 1902, the Victor Herbert operetta The Red Mill in 1906, and Chin Chin, A Modern Aladdin, in 1914. In 1939, he appeared in a radio program promoting the new MGM film of The Wizard of Oz, in which he got to meet the actor who played the Scarecrow, Ray Bolger, who was a great admirer of Stone's work, and although Bolger was too young to have seen Stone play the Scarecrow in the stage play, he did see Stone in The Red Mill.
Johnny Gruelle, the creator of Raggedy Ann, was a fan of Fred Stone and L. Frank Baum. Gruelle wrote a scenario for a stage show, which was never produced, in which the Scarecrow of Oz, played by Fred Stone, met Raggedy Ann. In 1923, Fred Stone and his daughter, Dorothy Stone, starred as Raggedy Andy and Raggedy Ann, respectively, in a musical extravaganza titled Stepping Stones with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Anne Caldwell.
His feature film career began in comedy westerns, his first, The Goat, was filmed in 1918. He starred in 19 feature films. In the 1935 film, Alice Adams, his character, Mr. Adams, was the third lead, following Katharine Hepburn's and Fred McMurray's characters. He made his home in Bayside, New York, where he was a neighbor and friend of boxing champion-turned-actor James J. Corbett. Around 1917 he built a small estate in the exclusive private community of Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, NY. The excess grounds were sold off as building lots for two other homes. However, the original mansion still stands. In it there are symbols of his acting career, including a theater in the basement and a separate room to store costumes.
In 1929, Stone was critically injured in an airplane crash attempting a stunt. In addition to many other broken bones, his legs were crushed and he was told he would never again dance. His good friend Will Rogers filled in for Fred in Three Cheers, a stage show written for Fred and his daughter, Dorothy. Rogers was a hit, and Stone worked at therapy relentlessly until he proved his doctors wrong and returned to the stage.
Stone received an honorary degree from Rollins College, a small liberal arts college located in Winter Park, Florida, in 1939. At that time a small theatre was named in his honor. The original Fred Stone Theatre—a smaller flexible space sitting adjacent to the College's larger principal venue, the Annie Russell Theatre, named after another great American actor and benefactor—was a wooden bungalow that was razed in the early 1970s. A nearby wood and brick-faced Greek revival styled hall, converted into a 90-seat black-box performance space, was re-dedicated as The Fred Stone Theatre during this period, and although it has been moved to another location on campus, it still stands and is active as a performance venue for smaller experimental productions as well as student directed and choreographed works. (The Rollins Archives have extensive information on the career of Stone, including numerous photographs, and is chief among private institutions in the U.S. continuing to educate young actors about the history of this great American thespian. Rollins College claims many famous theatrical alumni, including Anthony "Tony" Perkins, best known for his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and character actress Dana Ivey.)
Stone's autobiography, Rolling Stone, was published in 1945.
- Behind the Scenes of the Making of the Wizard of Oz, Rhino Records, 1989, a recording of the Oz-episode of The Maxwell House Coffee Hour
- Robin Bernstein, Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights, (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 161-168.
- "United States". Time magazine. December 6, 1926. Retrieved 2009-04-08. "From Greenville, Ohio, I received a heavy brown pasteboard box, which I carried to the stage of the Globe Theatre, Manhattan, and opened in the presence of a notary public. It contained several scrapbooks, with clippings, photographs, letters and a typed autobiography up to 1890 of my late friend, Annie Oakley Butler, ablest markswoman in history, who died last month. There was no letter of explanation but it seemed apparent that Annie Oakley, with whom I played in a circus some 20 years ago, wished me to be her Boswell."
- "Fred Stone's Daughter, Carol, Now on ABC-TV". Chicago Tribune. May 12, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30. "Fred Stone's Daughter,. Carol, Now on ABC-TV. Carol Stone, plays Big Kate on ABC-TV's Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, is a daughter of musical comedy star ..."
- "Fred Stone Ailing. Actor, 84, Unaware of Wife's Death Eleven Days Ago.". New York Times. August 25, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "Fred Stone, Ill And Blind, Not Told Wife Died". Chicago Tribune. August 25, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "Heart Disorder Confines Actor Fred Stone, 84". Los Angeles Times. August 25, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30. "Actor Fred Stone, 84, a veteran of more than 70 years in show business, is confined to his North Hollywood ..."
- "Fred Stone, 'Grand Old Man' of Stage, Dies at 85.". New York Times. March 7, 1959. Retrieved 2009-06-30. "Veteran Actor, Blind for Last Two Years, Passes On at Home in North Hollywood"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fred Stone.|
- Fred Stone at the Internet Movie Database
- Fred Stone at the Internet Broadway Database
- Allene Crater (Mrs Stone) portrait as young woman Univ of Louiville Macauley' Theatre collection
- Allene Crater in The Wizard of Oz (1903 (Univ. of Washington Sayre Collection)