Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Moe, Larry and Curly
The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. They were commonly known by their first names: "Larry, Moe, and Curly", and "Moe, Larry, and Shemp", among other lineups. The act originally featured Moe Howard (born Harry [Moshe] Moses Horwitz in 1897), brother Shemp Howard (born [Shmuel] Samuel Horwitz), and longtime friend Larry Fine (born Louis [Levi] Feinberg). Shemp was later replaced by brother Curly Howard (born Jerome Lester [Yehudah-Leib] Horwitz) October 22, 1903. When Curly suffered a debilitating stroke in 1946, Shemp rejoined the act. After Shemp's death in 1955, he was replaced by bald-headed comedian Joe Besser, after the use of stuntman Joe Palma to record several "Shemp" shorts after his death. Eventually Joe "Curly-Joe" DeRita (born Joseph Wardell) would replace him. After Larry suffered a serious stroke in 1970 he was unable to continue performing. Emil Sitka, a longtime actor in Stooge comedies, was contracted to replace Larry—but no film was ever made with him in the role, although publicity photographs exist of him with his hair combed similarly to Larry's posing with Moe and Curly-Joe. However, Larry's paralyzing stroke in 1970 effectively marked the end of the act. He died in January 1975. Moe died of cancer a few months later.
The Stooges' hallmark was physical slapstick comedy punctuated by quickly-delivered one-liners, within outrageous storylines.
Check out other illustrations from the TV series Testees by Jim McDermott and Shawn McManus.