Jack Haley

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

(1897-08-10)August 10, 1897[1]
DiedJune 6, 1979(1979-06-06) (aged 81)
Years active1923–1977
Known forThe 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 actor, comedian, dancer, radio host, singer, drummer and vaudevillian. He was best known for his portrayal of the Tin Man and his farmhand counterpart Hickory in the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film The Wizard of Oz.

Early life[edit]

Haley was born on August 10, 1897.[1] His father was a waiter by trade, and later a ship's steward. He died in the wreck of the schooner Charles A. Briggs at Nahant, Massachusetts on February 1, 1898, when Jack was almost six months old.[3] He had one older brother, William Anthony "Bill" Haley, a musician, who died of pneumonia in 1916 at the age of twenty-one after contracting tuberculosis.[4]


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. Haley made a few phonograph records in 1923, and in the early 1930s 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.[5]

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.

"The Tin Man" in The Wizard of Oz[edit]

Haley as the Tin Man in the MGM feature film The Wizard of Oz, 1939 film.
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. He replaced song-and-dance comedian Buddy Ebsen, who had suffered a severe allergic reaction after inhaling aluminum powder from his silver face makeup, which triggered a congenital bronchial condition; the dust settled in Ebsen's lungs and, within a few days of principal photographic testing, he found himself struggling to breathe. For Haley, to avoid the same problem, the dust was converted into a paste—even so, the paste caused an eye infection that sidelined Haley for four shooting days. Surgical treatment averted serious or permanent damage to Haley's eyes.[6] Haley also portrayed the Tin Man's Kansas counterpart, Hickory Twicker, one of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's farmhands.

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 three films Haley made for MGM. The others were Pick a Star, a 1937 Hal Roach production distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Mr. Cinderella, 1936.

Personal life[edit]

Haley (second from left) at the National Film Society Convention on May 30, 1979, (one week before his death)

Haley was raised Roman Catholic.[7] He was a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.[8] His nephew Bob Dornan served as a Republican congressman for California.[9]

Final years and death[edit]

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

Haley remained active until a week before his death.[citation needed]

On Friday June 1, 1979,[10] Haley suffered a heart attack. He died on June 6, 1979, at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 81.[11] His funeral was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd and the eulogy was given by Ray Bolger who concluded it by saying, "It's going to be awfully lonely on that Yellow Brick Road now, Jack."[12][11]

Haley is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.[13]

Haley's autobiography, Heart of the Tin Man, was published in 2000.[14]


Year Title Role Director/Studio Notes
1927 Broadway Madness Radio Announcer Burton L. King
Excellent Pictures
Film debut
1930 Follow Thru Jack Martin Lloyd Corrigan and
Laurence Schwab
Performer: Button Up Your Overcoat
1933 Mr. Broadway Jack Haley Johnnie Walker and
Edgar G. Ulmer
Broadway-Hollywood Productions
Sitting Pretty 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 Friend Henry 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 Peters George 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[edit]

Year Movie title Role Notes
1928 Haleyisms Jack Haley Also stars his wife Flo McFadden; Vitaphone production reel #2269
1930 The 20th Amendment Wallace Moore
Success Elmer Performer: "Just a Gigolo"; Vitaphone production reel #1257-1258
1932 The Imperfect Lover Vitaphone production reel #1324-1325
Absent Minded Abner Abner Vitaphone production reel #1372-1373
Sherlock's Home Vitaphone production reel #1441-1442
Then Came the Yawn
1933 The Build Up Vitaphone production reel #1444-1445
Wrongorilla Elmer Vitaphone production reel #1486-1484
Hollywood on Parade No. A-9 Himself
An Idle Roomer Vitaphone production reel #1531-1532
Nothing but the Tooth Smilie Jones Performer: "Smiles"; Vitaphone production reel #1542-1543
Salt Water Daffy Elmer Wagonbottom
1939 Screen Snapshots Series 18, No. 9 Himself Documentary/News Reel
1946 Screen Snapshots: The Skolsky Party Himself Documentary/News Reel
Screen Snapshots: Famous Fathers and Sons Himself Documentary/News Reel


Title Role Run Theater Notes
Round the Town Jack Haley May 21, 1924 – May 31, 1924 Century Promenade Theatre 15 performances
Gay Paree Jack Haley August 18, 1925 – January 30, 1926 Shubert Theatre 181 performances
Gay Paree Jack Haley November 9, 1926 – April 9, 1927 Winter Garden Theatre 192 performances
Follow Thru Jack Martin January 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 All Steve Potter Jr. September 8, 1931 – September 19, 1931 Manhattan Theatre 15 performances
Take a Chance Jack Stanley November 26, 1932 – July 1, 1933 Apollo Theatre 243 performances
Higher and Higher Zachary Ash April 4, 1940 – June 15, 1940 Shubert Theatre 84 performances
Higher and Higher Zachary Ash August 5, 1940 – August 24, 1940 Shubert Theatre 24 performances
In 1943, he starred with Frank Sinatra in film version
Show Time Jack Haley September 16, 1942 – April 3, 1943 Broadhurst Theatre 342 performances
Inside U.S.A. Jack Haley April 30, 1948 – February 19, 1949 New Century Theatre and
Majestic Theatre
399 performances


  1. ^ a b "Jack Haley birth". www.familysearch.org. Retrieved March 24, 2020.(registration required)
  2. ^ "Jack Haley". Social Security Death Index. FamilySearch.org. Retrieved January 27, 2021.(registration required)
  3. ^ "At sea since boyhood". The Boston Globe. February 3, 1898. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com. John Haley of South Boston, age 31, was the steward.
  4. ^ Haley, Jack (March 1, 2001). Heart of the Tin Man: The Collected Writings of Jack Haley. Seven Locks Press. ISBN 978-0970387202. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  5. ^ Reinehr, Robert; Swartz, Jon (2007). Historical Dictionary of Old Time Radio. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-0810857803.
  6. ^ "Wizard of Oz and Buddy Ebsen". Snopes.com. July 26, 1997. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  7. ^ Thomas, Bob (June 12, 1979). "Jack Haley, Screen's Tin Woodsman, Is Buried". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Associated Press. p. 9. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "Our History". Church of the Good Shepherd. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  9. ^ Kotkin, Joel. "Hollywood's Great Right Hope". washingtonpost.com. WP, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  10. ^ Pace, Eric (June 7, 1979). "Jack Haley, Actor, 79, Dead; Was Tin Woodman in 'Oz'". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b Smith, J. Y. (June 7, 1979). "Jack Haley Dies, Was Tin Man in 'The Wizard of Oz'". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2017. Jack Haley, 79, who played the shy and diffident Tin Woodman in the film classic "The Wizard of Oz," died yesterday at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after a heart attack.
  12. ^ Leuven, Holly Van (2019). "Epilogue: No Sad Songs". Ray Bolger: More than a Scarecrow. Oxford University Press. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-19-063906-8.
  13. ^ "Cemetery of the Week #110: Holy Cross Cemetery". cemeterytravel.com. Loren Rhoads & Cemetery Travel. October 3, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  14. ^ Haley, Jack (2000). Heart of the Tin Man: The Collected Writings of Jack Haley. Tinman Publishing. ISBN 0970387202.

External links[edit]