Biography

Breaking into show business with the Australian vaudeville troupe Pollard's Lilliputians, Harold Fraser adopted the name "Pollard" professionally when the group broke up during an American tour. Variously billed as Harry Pollard and Snub Pollard, he entered films at Essanay in 1911, then worked briefly at Keystone before settling down in 1915 at the fledgling Hal Roach studios. Adopting an inverted Kaiser Wilhelm moustache as his comic escutcheon, he co-starred with Harold Lloyd and Bebe Daniels in a series of knockabout slapstick comedies, moving into his own starring series in 1919. Pollard's one- and two-reelers of the early '20s, many of them directed by Charley Chase, were chock full of delightful sight gags and clever gimmickry, and had the added advantage of an unusually attractive leading lady, Marie Mosquini (later the wife of television pioneer Lee DeForrest). Alas, Pollard himself was a very limited performer, a fact that became painfully obvious when he left Roach to set up his own production company in 1926. By the end of the silent era he was working for the Poverty Row firm of Weiss-Artcraft, appearing opposite fat comedian Marvin Loback in a series of cheap comedies "inspired" by Roach's Laurel and Hardy films. Reduced to bit-part status when talkies came, Pollard flourished briefly in the late '30s as the comic sidekick of Western star Tex Ritter, and as a supporting player in the Columbia two-reelers of the 1940s. Like many other film veterans, he remained on call for such "nostalgic" silent movie tributes as The Perils of Pauline (1947) and The Man of 1000 Faces (1957), appearing in the latter film in a pie fight sequence with James Cagney. Active in films and TV right up to his death, Snub Pollard continued appearing in such fleeting roles as a tattoo artist in Who Was That Lady (1960) and a superannuated bellboy in William Castle's Homicidal (1961). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi