Slapstick comic actor during the silent film era who had a meteoric rise to the heights of fame and just as steep of a descent due to his flashy lifestyle. He directed the 1925 silent film Wizard of Oz, which had an influence on the 1939 classic.
Showing a talent for art, he worked as a cartoonist for several newspapers, which got him a job at Vitagraph, writing gags.
At Vitagraph he went from writing scripts to acting, directing, and taking just about every responsibility with the studio; but his foray into making movies on his own went very expensively awry.
He grew up in a showbusiness family, the son of a traveling vaudeville magician, Zera the Great.
Though a great talent during his early years, after his fame declined he was only known for making comedy classics with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.