Madelyn Saloshin – First Wife of Oliver Hardy
In 1910, Milledgeville saw its inaugural movie theater open its doors. Babe Hardy served as projectionist, ticket taker, janitor and manager while obsessively viewing films to prove to himself he could do a better job than actors performing them.
Hardy married Madelyn Saloshin, a Jewish pianist. Unfortunately, their union proved troubled; and later Hardy committed adultery with younger woman Myrtle Reeves.
Early Life and Education
Madelyn Saloshin was born August 2, 1896 in Georgia and died December 6, 1941 in Manhattan, New York. She was the first wife of comedy actor Oliver Hardy with whom she appeared in 107 films; additionally, she sang and played piano as an Orpheum Theatre’s pit orchestra member when they met; Madelyn was middle-class Jewish girl while Hardy was not; their marriage took place November 17, 1913 in Macon, Georgia and though her parents disapproved due to religious differences they still allowed the couple to bind themselves forever
Hardy first became interested in acting when his hometown theater, Milledgeville Cinematic Society, opened in 1910. Hardy became its projectionist, ticket taker, janitor and projectionist; watching films avidly until becoming convinced he could outdo actors onscreen. On advice from friends he moved to Jacksonville Florida where films were being made at Lubin Film Studios while performing as both cabaret singer and vaudeville singer by night and working at Lubin during the day.
Madelyn Saloshin was a vaudeville pianist when she met and married Oliver Hardy in 1913 despite opposition from both their families; as she was Jewish while he was Protestant. They settled in Jacksonville, Florida where Oliver began working at Lubin Film Company as both singer and studio worker – eventually producing 65 movies during their first year together – as bit actors but eventually becoming leading comedians.
Hardy divorced his first wife, Myrtle Reeves, in 1920 and married Myrtle as his second wife; together they had two children: Babe the dog and an easily controlled but sometimes mischievous capuchin monkey named Rexie (also named Myrtle). Together they went on to produce numerous films for Hal Roach Studios.
Hardy began working at Milledgeville’s first movie theater as manager, projectionist, ticket taker and janitor in 1910. Obsessed with films, Hardy became convinced he could perform like the actors he saw onscreen if not better than them. At the suggestion of a friend he moved to Jacksonville in 1913 in order to work in their film industry and met and married pianist Madelyn Saloshin a year later.
Simon Louvish reports that Hardy’s family opposed their marriage primarily due to Saloshin’s Jewish background, so the couple eloped to Macon, Georgia on November 17, 1913 for their wedding and divorced in 1920, after which Hardy married Myrtle Reeves while Madelyn continued playing piano throughout her 30s and appeared occasionally on radio backing singer Prince Piotti before eventually passing away in 1941.