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The Three Stooges: Featuring The Howard Brothers

Caroline Hemphill, Writer

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Moses Harry Horwitz, born June 19, 1897 in Bensonhurst, New York, would later achieve fame as Moe, one of the Three Stooges.  Moe, one of the five sons born to a Levite and Lithuanian Jewish Family, teamed with his brothers and entered acting

Moe Howard, an excellent student with prolific memory, used his talent to succeed in acting. As a child, his mother refused to cut his hair, so he finally did it himself with scissors, unveiling the trademark helmet he sported throughout his career in comedy.

Moe fell in love with theater early and dropped out of high school to pursue an acting career. Moe always had a passion for comedy, a fervor that would drive him to popularity. The Three Stooges stayed popular in American culture from 1936-1958, first in the cinema and then on television. Later,  Moe’s acting career slowed down after Columbia Pictures closed the shorts department in 1958, and  he began a second career selling real estate.

He continued appearing on television talk shows and in small roles until his death from lung cancer on May 4, 1975 at age 77. Moe had two children, Joan and Paul, with his wife Helen Schonberger, and both carry forward the Three Stooges legacy.

Moreover, Samuel Horwitz “Shemp Howard”, born March 11, 1895 in Brooklyn New York, would later achieve fame in the Three Stooges as Shemp. Called “Shemp” because “Sam” came out that way in his mother’s thick Litvak accent, he fit in well with Moe and Larry as a trio.

Shemp, best known today for his role as the third stooge in the Three Stooges, a role he first began in the act in the early 1920s known as “Ted Healy and his Stooges” and later rejoining the team from 1946 until his death in 1955.

In September 1925, Shemp married Gertrude Frank, a lady from New York. They had one child, Morton.

On November 22, 1955, Shemp went out with his friends Al Winston and Bobby Silverman to a boxing match at the old Hollywood Legion Stadium, a boxing and wresting arena located one block above the Hollywood Palladium.

While returning home in a taxicab that evening, he died from a sudden massive heart attack at age 60. Leaning back and lighting a cigar after telling a joke, he suddenly slumped over on his friend Al Winston’s lap, accidentally burning Al with the cigar. Al thought Shemp played a joke since Shemp laughed moments earlier, but quickly realized he died.

Finally, Jerome Lester Horwitz “Curly” Howard, born October 22, 1903 in Bensonhurst, New York City, would later achieve Three Stooges fame as Curly.  The youngest sibling, he admired his brothers, and they called him“Babe”. A quiet child, Curly rarely caused problems for his parents and friends, a complete opposite of his acting character!

Although known as a mediocre student, still Curly excelled athletically on the school basketball team, winning most of the games he played. He did accomplish graduating from high school, and he kept himself busy with odd jobs and constantly followed his older brothers, whom he idolized. Also an accomplished ballroom dancer and singer, Curly regularly appeared at the Triangle Ballroom in Brooklyn, occasionally meeting actor and dancer, George Raft.

On June 7, 1937, Curly married Elaine Ackerman, who gave birth to their only child, Marilyn the following year. The couple divorced in June 1940, and afterwards, he gained weight and developed hypertension.

Curly, insecure about his shaved head, believing it made him unappealing to women, increasingly drank alcohol and caroused to cope with his inferiority feelings. He wore a hat in public to convey a masculine image, saying he felt like a little kid with his hair shaved off, even though he remained popular with women all his life.

Curly finally entered his first acting role in a comedy musical conductor in 1928. Ever since then, his fame only increased, By 1944, Curly’s energy began to wane, and he suddenly started to suffer from many strokes and health issues.

As time passed, the Curly’s strokes only worsened, making him handicapped and needing special care. Sadly, he died from a stroke on January 8, 1952 at the Baldy View Sanitarium in San Gabriel, California. Curly lived the shortest time of all his siblings, yet still remains the act’s most popular stooge.

The Three Stooges, known as an American vaudeville and comedy team, stayed active in entertainment from 1922 until 1970, and they produced 190 short subject films for Columbia Pictures.

The Three Stooges featuring the Howard brothers still astound viewers today with their hilarious skits and antics!

 

 

 

 

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The Three Stooges: Featuring The Howard Brothers