What became the most memorable role of his career wasn’t initially offered to the actor
Remembering Jack Haley, the iconic Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” on his 123rd anniversary of his birth
The actor Jack Haley was born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 10, 1897. He started his career headlining in vaudeville as a song-and-dance comedian. During the 1930’s and 1940’s starred in some popular movies, though playing supporting or small roles, among some of these movies are “Poor Little Rich Girl” with Shirley Temple, “Higher and Higher” with Frank Sinatra and the Irving Berlin musical “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”. It was in the late 1930’s that Haley got the role he’s now best remembered for when MGM hired him to play Tin-Man in the blockbuster “Wizard of Oz”. Initially, Haley was not the actor that had been cast to play that iconic role, it was the comedian Buddy Ebsen, who due to a severe allergic reaction to the aluminium of the silver make up of Tin Man, had to quit the role, giving the opportunity to Haley to take it. But as he stated several times, Haley did not remember the makeup or the costume fondly, and despite that many fans assumed making the film was a fun experience he once said “Like hell it was. It was work!”. To develop his character of Tin Man, Jack Haley spoke in the same soft tone he used when reading bedtime stories to his children. This would be the last great role Jack Haley had in his movie career. Over the next decades, he wouldn’t be as prolific as an actor, but maintained his legend status in Hollywood thanks to the Tin Man role. His last film appearance was in 1977’s “New York, New York” in the lavish “Happy Endings” musical number, alongside his then-daughter-in-law, Liza Minnelli. On June 6 1979, shortly after appearing at the Academy Awards, Jack Haley passed from a heart attack at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 80.
Look back at Jack Haley performing his most memorable moment as Tin Man in the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz”
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