Three StoogesThe Three Stooges were an American comedy act in the 20th century. Commonly known by their first names, Larry, Moe, and Curly (sometimes spelled "Curley") became famous for their work in film. They starred in many short features that consisted of creative ways of showcasing their extremely physical brand of slapstick comedy.
The Stooges got their name and their start in a vaudeville act called Ted Healy and his Stooges. Brothers Moses (Moe) and Shmuel Howard (Shemp) (original last name Horowitz) were later joined by Larry Fine (real name Feinberg). Shemp left for a career in film (notably as trainer Knobby Walsh in the 'Joe Palooka' films), and brother Curly Howard (real name Jerome, called "Babe" by family members) took his place. Moe was throughout their career the heart and soul of the troupe, acting as both their main creative force and business manager. His daughter Joan (nee' Maurer) is today the owner of the Three Stooges.
The original Three Stooges split from Healy and went on to star in nearly two hundred theatrical short films in the 30s, 40s and 50s, the longest such series in film history. Curly suffered a stroke in 1946 and Shemp returned to the trio. Shemp died of a heart attack in 1956 and Joe Besser was the third Stooge 1956-1958. Besser did not want to travel & had a clause in his contract specifically prohibiting him from being hit, and so was not a good third member, and Columbia Pictures finally pulled the plug on the series of shorts, which had become unprofitable. At this point it seemed that the career of the Three Stooges was over. Columbia released the entire series to television syndication and suddenly a whole new generation of fans rediscovered them. Moe took advantage of their new-again popularity by signing up Curly Joe DeRita as the third member. They went on to make a number of successful full-length feature films over the next decade before age finally caught up with them. Their last project, "Kook's Tour"(1970), was a sort of travelogue made for TV, but was never released though available today on video. Moe also had a minor career as a non-Stooge, appearing in a few movies during the 1960s. Larry died in early 1975, followed by Moe a few months later.
Del Lord directed more than 37 of the "Three Stooges" films. Jules White directed many others.