Billy Ruge

Born - Jan 1, 1885   |   Died - Oct 1, 1955   |  

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Oliver Hardy's first regular co-star -- more than a decade before Hal Roach teamed him with Stan Laurel -- Billy Ruge came from vaudeville where he had toured in an acrobatic act known as "Frobel and Ruge." A small man with a particularly large moue, Ruge had appeared in comedies for the Lubin Mfg. Co. before being teamed with Hardy by the Vim company in the Florida-lensed "Plump and Runt" comedies. Although their onscreen characters were more often than not at odds with each other, offscreen the teamwork was reportedly very amicable. Ruge, who apparently needed a dominant partner, was later teamed with robust Kate Price, another survivor of Vim, for a series of "Sparkle Comedies" produced by the Jaxon Film Co., of which at least one, Ambition, from 1921, is available today. There were reportedly another even more obscure series but Billy Ruge's screen career did not survive the early '20s.