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Fred Stone was a vaudeville and live theater legend, but is sadly forgotten today, except by major theater history buffs. He was born in 1873, and by the turn of the century, he was the leading actor in live theater plays that toured the country, and in 1902, he played the Scarecrow in the first stage version of The Wizard of Oz, a role he repeated for many years. In 1918, he first appeared in a movie, and although he appeared in a total of 19 movies, he mainly stayed loyal to the stage. He was great friends with many Hollywood legends including Will Rogers, and when Annie Oakley died, she left her unfinished autobiography to Stone! He was critically injured in an airplane crash in 1929, and was told he would never dance again, but made a nearly full recovery. In 1923, the creator of Raggedy Ann wrote a stage play for Stone, where the Scarecrow met Raggedy Ann, but it was never produced. Stone and his daughter did play in a musical where he was Raggedy Andy and she was Raggedy Ann, with music by Jerome Kern. In the mid 1930s, when older actors were having much success at Paramount, Paramount hired Stone with a great fanfare, announcing that he would be appearing in a number of movies, but that really didn't materialize. Stone passed away in 1959 at the age of 85. He was certainly a remarkable man, and a movie should be made of his life!
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