Fred Stone

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Fred Stone
Stone in 1911
Fred Andrew Stone

(1873-08-19)August 19, 1873
DiedMarch 6, 1959(1959-03-06) (aged 85)
Burial placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Occupation(s)Stage, film actor
Years active1901–1945
(m. 1904; died 1957)
ChildrenDorothy Stone
Paula Stone
Carol Montgomery Stone
RelativesMilburn Stone (nephew)
Madge Blake (niece)

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 in vaudeville, and became a star on Broadway and in feature films, which earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Stone was born in Valmont, Colorado, on August 19, 1873.[1][2] In his early years his family moved frequently.[3] By 1875 the family had moved to Longmont, CO, where his brother Joseph was born.[4] The family then moved through a series of Kansas towns including Garden City (1876), Dodge City (1877), Burrton, Halstead (1878), and Wellington (1881).[5]

He was particularly famous for appearing on stage opposite David C. Montgomery. They had a 22-year partnership until Montgomery's death in 1917. They performed 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 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.[6]

Fred Stone as the Scarecrow (left) and David C. Montgomery as the Tin Woodman in the 1902 stage extravaganza The Wizard of Oz
Poster art for Broadway show Chin-Chin (1914)

In 1917, he appeared on Broadway in Jack O'Lantern, which, according to Vanity Fair theater critic P.G. Wodehouse "should be the greatest success he has ever had. Fred Stone is unique. In a profession where the man who can dance can’t sing and the man who can sing can’t act he stands alone as one who can do everything."[7]

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 never was 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.[8]

Stone's 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, as Mr. Adams, he was the third lead, following Katharine Hepburn and Fred MacMurray. 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, Stone built a small estate in the exclusive private community of Forest Hills Gardens. The excess grounds were sold as building lots for two other homes. However, the original mansion still stands. In it are symbols of his acting career, including a theater in the basement and a separate room of store costumes.

In 1926, after the death of his good friend Annie Oakley, he was given her unfinished autobiography.[9]

Stone and his wife, Allene Crater, whom he met in the company of The Wizard of Oz, had three daughters, Dorothy, Paula, and Carol.[10] Crater also appeared, in a small part, with Stone in Jack O'Lantern. A Vanity Fair review of the play said of Crater: "My only complaint is that the structure of the entertainment makes it impossible for Allene Crater, who in the little bit she does shows herself one of the most refreshing comediennes on the musical stage, to have a really good part."[7] As an adult, Dorothy became her father's stage partner.

In 1928,[11] 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 never would dance again. 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 in Ripples (1930).

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 rededicated 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.)

Fred Stone became ill and blind and was hospitalized on August 25, 1957, the year his wife died.[12][13][14] He died on March 6, 1959, at his home in North Hollywood, California[15] and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).[16]


George Ade wrote Fred Stone Jingles for Good Little Girls and Good Little Boys (20 pages, 8 poems, 10 interior photos by Charles Dillingham, George A Powers Printing Co., 1921). Stone's autobiography Rolling Stone was published in 1945 (McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.). P. G. Wodehouse mentions him in the short story "The Aunt and the Sluggard", a Jeeves and Bertie Wooster story.[17]

Broadway shows[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1915 Destiny Parishioner
1918 The Goat Chuck McCarthy
1919 Under the Top Jimmie Jones
1919 Johnny Get Your Gun Johnny Wiggins
1921 The Duke of Chimney Butte Jeremeah Lambert
1922 Billy Jim Billy Jim
1924 Broadway After Dark Himself cameo appearance
1935 Alice Adams Virgil Adams
1936 The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Judd Tolliver
1936 The Farmer in the Dell Ernest 'Pa' Boyer
1936 Grand Jury Commodore George Taylor
1936 My American Wife Lafe Cantillon
1937 Hideaway Frankie Peterson
1937 Life Begins in College Coach Tim O'Hara
1937 Quick Money Mayor Jonas Tompkins
1939 Konga, the Wild Stallion Yance Calhoun
1939 No Place to Go Andrew Plummer
1940 The Westerner Caliphet Mathews



  • Fields, Armond (2002). Fred Stone: Circus Performer and Musical Comedy Star. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. ISBN 0-7864-1161-9.


  1. ^ Fields (2002), p. 3
  2. ^ "Fred Stone of Wellington". The Wellington Daily News. Vol. XV. January 21, 1916. p. 2. Retrieved 2023-12-03 – via
  3. ^ Collins, Dorothy Stone. From Sawdust to Stardust: A Story of Fred Stone. OCLC 49725781. Retrieved 2023-12-02.
  4. ^ Fields (2002), p. 6: "Joseph Edward Stone was born in Longmont, Colorado, on an unspecified day in April, 1875, in the town clinic."
  5. ^ Fields (2002), pp. 6–12 in chapter 1, "The Roaming Stones"
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ a b Wodehouse, P. G. (December 1917). "Fred Stone and a Few Others". Vanity Fair. p. 61. Retrieved December 3, 2023 – via
  8. ^ Bernstein, Robin (2011). Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. New York University Press. pp. 161–168. ISBN 978-0-8147-8707-6.
  9. ^ "United States". Time. December 6, 1926. Archived from the original on January 31, 2011. 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.
  10. ^ "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 ...
  11. ^ "Le nouvelliste". Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. August 13, 1928. p. 3.[dead link]
  12. ^ "Fred Stone Ailing. Actor, 84, Unaware of Wife's Death Eleven Days Ago". The New York Times. August 25, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  13. ^ "Fred Stone, Ill And Blind, Not Told Wife Died". Chicago Tribune. August 25, 1957. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  14. ^ "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 ...
  15. ^ "Fred Stone, 'Grand Old Man' of Stage, Dies at 85". The New York Times. March 7, 1959. Retrieved 2009-06-30. Veteran Actor, Blind for Last Two Years, Passes On at Home in North Hollywood
  16. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4.
  17. ^ Wodehouse, P. G. (April 22, 1916). "The Aunt and the Sluggard". Saturday Evening Post.

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