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John Joseph "Jack" Haley, Jr. (August 10, 1898 – June 6, 1979) was an American stage, radio, and film actor best known for his portrayal of the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. He also portrayed farmworker Hickory, who appeared in the Kansas sequences, in the film.



Haley starred in vaudeville as a song-and-dance comedian. One of his closest friends was fellow vaudeville alumnus Fred Allen, who would frequently mention "Mr. Jacob Haley of Newton Highlands, Massachusettsmarker" on the air.

In the early 1930s Haley starred in comedy shorts for Vitaphone in Brooklynmarker, New York. His wide-eyed, good-natured expression landed him supporting roles in musical feature films like Poor Little Rich Girl with Shirley Temple, Higher and Higher with Frank Sinatra and the Irving Berlin musical Alexander's Ragtime Band. Both Poor Little Rich Girl and Alexander's Ragtime Band were released by Twentieth Century-Fox.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer hired Haley for The Wizard of Oz after another song-and-dance comic, Buddy Ebsen, who was originally set to play the Tin Man, had a near-fatal reaction from inhaling the aluminum dust makeup. The makeup was switched to a paste, to avoid risking the same reaction by Haley. The new makeup did cause an eye infection which caused Haley to miss four days of filming, but he received treatment in time to prevent permanent damage. Incidentally, Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003), 10 years younger than Haley, outlived him by 24 years.

Haley did not take to the makeup or to the discomfort of the costume very kindly. When being interviewed about the film years later by Tom Snyder, he remarked that many people had commented that making the film must have been fun. Haley's reply: "Like hell it was; it was work!"

Haley's natural voice (which he used for the "Hickory" character) was moderately gruff. For the Tin Man, he spoke more softly, a la "Mr. Rogers", which he later said was the tone of voice he used when reading stories to his children.

Oz was Haley's only film for MGM.

Haley returned to musical comedies in the 1940s. Most of his '40s work was for RKO Radio Pictures. He surrendered the job in 1947 when he refused to appear in a remake of RKO's old story property Seven Keys to Baldpate; Phillip Terry took the role.

Personal life

He married Florence McFadden of Wilkes Barremarker Pennsylvania on February 25, 1921, and they remained married until his death. Flo Haley opened a successful beauty shop and counted many show people among her customers. (The establishment became known informally as "Flo Haley's House of Correction.")

The couple had one son, Jack Haley Jr. (later a successful film producer) and one daughter, Gloria. Jack Jr. was married to Liza Minnelli, daughter of his father's Oz co-star Judy Garland, in 1974. The marriage ended in divorce in 1979.

Jack and Flo Haley were godparents to Miel Roman, daughter of model Honey Merrill Roman and singer Dick Roman.

In 1972, Haley made his daughter, Gloria, the sole owner of his written memoirs. In 1978, she published them in the form of the hardcover book Heart of the Tin Man.


Haley died of a heart attack on June 6, 1979 in Los Angeles, Californiamarker at the age of 80. Only a short time previously, he had made an appearance at that year's Academy Awards ceremony with Ray Bolger, who had played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. He was still active only a week prior to his death. He is buried in Holy Cross Cemeterymarker, Culver City, Californiamarker.



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