Happy birthday Moe Howard!
Moe Howard ( June 19, 1897– May 4, 1975) was an American actor and comedian who became known as the leader of the legendary comedy team The Three Stooges. Moe was known for his trademark 'helmet hair' bowl cut, which he first unveiled as a young child, unhappy with his shoulder-length hair. Over the course of their long career, the Stooges would make nearly 200 short films by 1975, and Moe himself would appear in more than 250 films in his lifetime. Moe's signature character in the majority of his appearances was a hot-tempered bully who provided slapstick violence and fighting.
Moses Harry Horwitz was born in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn to a Lithuanian Jewish couple, and was the fourth of five sons. Two of his brothers, Samuel and Jerome, would also join The Three Stooges at different points in group history. In 1921, Moe and Ted Healy formed a vaudeville routine, and were joined by Moe's older brother Samuel, or Shemp Howard. In 1925, Larry Fine joined the group as their violinist, and the group became Ted Healy and His Three Southern Gentlemen, later Ted Healy and His Three Stooges.
The group's first film was Soup to Nuts (1930). Ted Healy left to pursue a solo comedy career and Moe's younger brother Jerome stepped in as Curly. The new group was renamed The Three Stooges, who signed with Columbia Pictures, where they would remain for nearly three decades completing 190 comedy shorts.
The Stooges' first short, released in 1934, was Woman Haters. Next, the group wrote Punch Drunks, followed by Men in Black, which was nominated for an Academy Award. For the next several years, they would make several short films a year, including Three Little Pigskins, which included a very young Lucille Ball, Pop Goes the Easel, Hoi Polloi, and many others. In the 1940s, the group made several anti-Nazi movies, including You Nazty Spy!, I'll Never Heil Again, and They Stooge to Conga. In all of these, Moe impersonated Adolf Hitler, a performance which preceded Chaplin's satire The Great Dictator, by a few months. (Image source)
In 1946, Curly Howard suffered a stroke and was replaced temporarily by Shemp in Half-Wits Holiday. Curly recovered enough to make a final appearance in Hold That Lion!, the only Stooges film to include all three Howard brothers. Shortly after, Curly suffered a series of strokes which lead to his death in 1952.
The Stooges, now including Shemp again, shot a "comedy of errors" pilot for ABC in 1949 but it was not picked up. They continued to make short films and Moe, a talented businessman, co-produced a number of westerns and musicals. In 1955, Shemp died of a heart attack and another Columbia actor, Joe Palma filled in as "Fake Shemp". Palma was replaced by Joe Besser, and they filmed an additional 16 shorts for Columbia. Screen comic Joe DeRita (Curly Joe) joined the group as the new "third Stooge" and completed six feature-length films: Have Rocket, Will Travel, Snow White and the Three Stooges, The Three Stooges Meet Hercules, The Three Stooges in Orbit, The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze and The Outlaws Is Coming.
By the 1960s, Howard's career in comedy was slowing down, and he began selling real estate, and continued to appear on late night talk shows and in small screen roles. He was married to Helene Schonberger until his death on May 4, 1975. In 1983, the Three Stooges received a posthumous Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
- Birthday Date: Thursday, 19 June 2014