The light film and stage comedian of the thirties and forties was born in Boston Massachusetts, in 1902. His was a poor Irish-Catholic family, and no one knew was connected with show business. But after jack saw a comic in a Christmas benefit for underprivileged children, he decided to be a famous funny man, with lost of money. Within forty years, he managed both.
He made his debut at the age of six, singing a song called "Leapfrog Jump" in a Catholic church play. After graduating from Dwight Grammar School, he bummed around at a number of odd jobs. first he worked in a New York law office for $3.50 per week. Then he went to Philadelphia, where he made as much as $60 weekly as a song plugger in vaudeville houses. he used a pointer and encouraged audiences to sing along with him. His first act was with six girls. Within six months he was booked into the Palace Theater in New York, minus the girls. His partner was Charlie Crofus and their act was called Crofts and Haley. hack described it as "the martin and Lewis of our day." He also worked with Benny Rubin, his best friend until a falling out in the 1960s. Jack's most successful liaison. professionally and privately, was with a girl named Florence MacFadden on an act not unlike "Burns and Allen."
Jack had his first big break in 1929 when he introduced the song "Button Up Your Overcoat" i the hit musical Follow Through. In 1930, he did the screen version with Zelma O'Neal, both in secondary leads, and Buddy Rogers and the late Nancy Carroll, the stars. the film set the pattern for most of Jack's movie work: he never got the girl unless she was a Patsy Kelly or a Joan Davis. In 1932 he was back on Broadway in Take a Chance with Ethel Merman and the late Olsen and Johnson.
Among his some fifty films were Sitting Pretty in 1933, with Jack Oakie, and Coronado in 1935, with Johnny downs (the emcee of a daily television show in San Diego in California), Wake Up and Live in 1937 with Alice Faye.
Undoubtedly, Jack remains best remembered for The Wizard of Oz in 1939, "at the time...just seemed like another movie," in which he played the Tin Man and Hickory.
He was in the stage version of the musical Higher and Higher in 1940, repeated his role for the movie in 1943, starred on Broadway in Show time with Ella Logan.
In the 40s Jack devoted himself to his real estate investments and cattle raising.
However, in 1969 he was directed by jack, Jr. in Norwood playing Joe and he wanted his father in it for good luck. He also had a daughter, Gloria, who gave him two grandchildren.
Jack had little interest in working again, although as a favor to his old friend Jackie Gleason he did a 1969 guest shot on his television show. He was at his office every day to check on his Maderna Acres development, other investments and new projects.
Jack's Beverly Hills home occupied a corner lot just off Sunset Boulevard which included among other autos a Cadillac and Rolls Royce.
His ultramodern home was the scene of frequent parties for many old friends as he threw many parties. He died in 1979 at the age of 80.