Harry Earles was born Kurt Scheider in Germany, and both he and his wife Grace (Freida) came to the United States in 1915. They appeared at Coney Island as The Doll Family before adopting the surname Earles. In the early 1920's, their sister Daisy (Hilda) joined them and in the mid- to late- 1920's, their sister Tiny (Elly) arrived. The four worked in the movies while simultaneously working for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Earles was 39 inches high and began his film career with director Tod Browning for the Lon Chaney vehicle The Unholy Three (1925) as the ruthless midget Tweedledee. He later reprised the role for the 1930 sound remake again with Browning and Chaney. He also appeared in Laurel and Hardy's Be Big (1931). For his best-known role, however, it was Earles himself who brought to Tod Browning's attention the Clarence A. "Tod" Robbins novel on which the film Freaks (1932) was based.
By 1932, the Earles and his sisters had left the motion picture industry to tour with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circuses, where they worked until the mid-1950's. During this time, however, they still made a few film appearances. The entire Earles family, including Daisy who was known as "The Midget Mae West" and actually grew a few inches taller later in life, all appeared in MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939). Harry can be seen as one of the Lollipop Boys. Daisy also has brief blink-and-you-miss-it shot in the 1952 Best Picture winner The Greatest Show On Earth.
After twenty-five years with the circus, Harry retired to Sarasota, Florida where he lived until his death in 1985.
--A History of Horror.
A selection of Harry Earles films.
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A selection of Harry Earles in books.
A History of Horror
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