Lord was born in the small town of Grimsley, Ontario, Canada. Interested in the theatre, he traveled to New York City then when fellow Canadian, Mack Sennett offered him a job at his new Keystone Studio, Del Lord went on to work in Hollywood, California. He played the driver of the Keystone Kops paddy wagon, appearing in numerous of the successful films.
Given a chance to direct, Del Lord was responsible for a number of very successful comedies for Keystone and directed two feature films for Universal Pictures. However, the Great Depression devastated the film industry and Sennett was forced to close his studio in 1933. Work was scarce and Del Lord had to take a job selling used cars until a friend at Columbia Pictures offered him work.
From 1935 to 1945, Lord directed some of Columbia's fastest and funniest two-reelers and is credited with developing the unique comic style of the Three Stooges. In addition to more than 37 Stooges films, over his career he directed or produced more than 200 motion pictures, included a number of feature films. In 1951, he retired from the motion picture business.
A rock band of the 1980s, the Del Lords, was named for him.