Vivien Oakland

This vivacious, platinum-blonde leading lady of silent screen comedy was a former Ziegfeld Girl (under her birth name ‘Anderson’). The daughter of Norwegian immigrants, she appeared in vaudeville from early childhood and began in films in 1915. Two years later she made her debut on Broadway. From the early 1920’s, Vivien became a regular feature in two-reelers for Hal Roach, her forte being the ‘slow burn’. She invariably played a put-upon society matron, or the long-suffering wife of either Charley Chase (Mighty Like a Moose (1926)), Oliver Hardy (Along Came Auntie (1926)and That’s My Wife (1929)), Stan Laurel (Love ‘Em and Weep (1927)), Edgar Kennedy (Dumb’s the Word (1937)) or Leon Errol (in a series of shorts at RKO, beginning with Wrong Romance (1937)).

Vivien successfully made the transition to sound and was featured to great effect with Laurel & Hardy in We Faw Down (1928), Scram! (1932) (an infectious drunken scene), and Way Out West (1937). Her film roles were usually small, though she made the most of being one of the Florodora Sextette in the musical period romance The Florodora Girl (1930). Vivien retired in 1951, settling in Sherman Oaks, California. In the final year of her life, she worked at Neff’s Toy Store as a saleslady.

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