Fred Stone (August 19, 1873 – March 6, 1959)
Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles CA
When people today think of the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz their minds immediately turn to Ray Bolger’s classic interpretation. But there was a time when Fred Stone was considered the quintessential man of straw. Stone originated the role in the original 1902 stage production that eventually moved to Broadway. His nimble acrobatics and tenderness in the role greatly influenced Bolger when it came time to pass the torch (so to speak).
Stone went on to Hollywood and was a beloved character actor in the movies. He befriended the likes of Will Rogers, Annie Oakley, and boxer James J. Corbett. By all accounts he was a man’s man to be sure.
Although no vocal recordings exist of his performance as the Scarecrow, a testament to Stone’s greatness in the role can be found from L. Frank Baum himself when he dedicated 1904’s The Land of Oz to him.