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Curly Howard Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (46)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Died in San Gabriel, California, USA  (massive cerebral hemorrhage)
Birth NameJerome Lester Horwitz
Nicknames Babe
Jerry
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jerome "Curly" Howard, the rotund, bald Stooge with the high voice was the most popular member of The Three Stooges. His first stage experience was as a comedic conductor for the Orville Knapp Band in 1928. Curly joined The Three Stooges in 1932, replacing his brother Shemp Howard. He made more than 100 film appearances with the team before a massive stroke on the set of Half-Wits Holiday (1947) forced him to retire. He recuperated enough to appear in Hold That Lion! (1947) and hoped to eventually return to the team. But another series of strokes deteriorated his health until he died at the age of 48.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael J. Bauman <mbauman@acsu.buffalo.edu>

Family (4)

Spouse Valerie Joan Grenache (31 July 1947 - 18 January 1952)  (his death)  (1 child)
Marion Elaine Marvin (17 October 1945 - 22 July 1946)  (divorced)
Elaine Julia Ackerman (7 June 1937 - 11 July 1940)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Julia Rosenthal (5 August 1930 - 6 January 1931)  (annulled)
Children Janie Howard Hanky
Parents Sol Horwitz
Moe Howard
Relatives Moe Howard (sibling)
Shemp Howard (sibling)
Joan Howard (niece or nephew)
Jeffrey Scott (niece or nephew)
Michael Maurer (niece or nephew)

Trade Mark (3)

Wore suits a size too small and a bowler hat in a majority of his Stooge shorts, most notably in Disorder in the Court (1936).
Distinctive vocal expressions ("Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk!", "Woo-woo-woo!", "Soitenly!" [certainly] and dog barking)
Distinctive high-pitched voice

Trivia (46)

He was known as "Jerry" before joining The Three Stooges. Brother Moe Howard always called him "Babe".
Fourth member of The Three Stooges team, of which, over time, there were six altogether.
He was a member of The Three Stooges from 1932-46. He took over from, and was eventually replaced by, his brother Shemp Howard.
His famous "woo-woo-woo" originated in The Three Stooges short Woman Haters (1934), their first of almost 200 for Columbia Pictures.
The final pie-fight scene of Half-Wits Holiday (1947) did not include Curly because he had suffered a stroke the day the scene was filmed, on May 6, 1946.
He filmed a scene for The Three Stooges short Malice in the Palace (1949) as a chef, but it was left on the cutting room floor (although there are publicity photographs of the scene).
Interred at Home of Peace Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA, in the Western Jewish Institute Section.
According to one of his ex-wives, he was extremely musical. He could take almost anything lying around and make music with it. She said when they went to nightclubs, he would take two spoons and play along with the club's band--in fact, there is a scene in Disorder in the Court (1936) showing him playing the spoons--or tear the tablecloth to music. Of course, they would find the cost of the tablecloth added to the bill.
Had two brothers who weren't in show business: Jack Howard and Irving Horwitz.
Shared the same nickname, "Babe", as another contemporary rotund slapstick comic, Oliver Hardy, although it was a coincidence. Curly was the youngest of the three Howard brothers--the others being Moe Howard and Shemp Howard--and his mother always called him "My Baby". His brothers shortened it to "Babe" and used it to constantly tease him. The nickname stuck to him all his life.
Son of Sol Horwitz.
The original use of "woo-woo-woo" was an ad lib. It was actually written into the later scripts.
He shaved his head for his "Curly" character but did not like it because he felt it reduced his appeal to ladies.
Some of the animators at Disney had seen him as "Curly" in The Three Stooges shorts. His movements inspired some of the choreography in the mushroom dance in Fantasia (1940).
During a visit to the Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, CA, in January 1945, he was diagnosed as having extreme hypertension, a retinal hemorrhage and obesity, thus explaining his ragged appearance in all of the shorts released in 1946-47, his last year with the group.
Unlike his character, he was very shy and withdrawn when not on camera.
Was an avid dog lover and often brought stray dogs home with him from traveling.
With a full head of hair, he appeared for the first time with both Moe Howard and Shemp Howard in The Three Stooges short Hold That Lion! (1947); it was also his last Stooge appearance.
The accident he had as a child, which gave him his limp, was a gun accident. One morning he was playing in the backyard with his pistol, which had a hair trigger. He accidentally shot his foot, and was so frightened of surgery, that he never got it fixed. Brother Moe Howard was the one who found him. To mask it on screen, he developed his famous exaggerated walk.
Never made a public or on-camera appearance out of character.
In 1984 he was immortalized in the song "The Curly Shuffle" by the country group Jump 'N the Saddle, which was accompanied by a music video containing clips from several of The Three Stooges shorts featuring him.
Despite his shy nature, the success and celebrity of The Three Stooges triggered his lifelong indulgences in drinking too much, overeating and womanizing. He was also a compulsive spender. Brother Moe Howard, the business manager of the group, tried to curtail Curly's spending habits but was unable to. Despite several hospitalizations for health problems due to his lifestyle, Curly stubbornly refused to change it.
Ted Healy, who originated the idea of The Three Stooges' brutal style of comedy, was not originally interested in hiring Curly to replace Shemp Howard, the original Stooge, after Shemp left the group. Curly had wavy chestnut-brown hair and a waxed mustache. When he went out and completely shaved his head and (eventually) his mustache, Healy hired him on the spot.
Got his first job when he was 25 years old, performing as a burlesque conductor for the Orville Knapp Orchestra.
During the Long Beach (CA) earthquake of 1933, he thought the house shaking was the result of a trick Ted Healy was playing on them, and was found by his brother Moe Howard pounding on Healy's door shouting at him to stop whatever it was he was doing.
Once while in Atlantic City, NJ, he was cracked over the head with a cane by a young boy who thought Curly's head was as tough as it appeared to be in The Three Stooges shorts.
Once went to the doctor about an ear infection, and the doctor removed a cherry pip from his ear.
After another stroke in 1947 he was left half paralyzed and unable to work, with expensive medical bills. Brothers Moe Howard and Shemp Howard, and fellow Stooge Larry Fine, set aside percentages of their weekly paychecks to help him.
His two elder brothers, Shemp Howard and Moe Howard, outlived him.
On the Seinfeld (1989) episode Seinfeld: The Heart Attack (1991), Jerry thinks that was couch grass and cramp bark that killed Curly.
On August 30, 1983 Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1560 Vine Street where former Stooge Joe Besser and 2 thousand fans showed up for the unveiling.
Was in an automobile accident at age 21 when the car he was driving collided with a streetcar; the accident left him with a scar on his left cheek.
Older brother Moe Howard taught him how to play the ukulele.
Was very athletic as a teenager and a star player on his high school basketball team.
Was well known for being irresistible to women. Older brother Moe Howard once said that Curly was always "in demand socially" and had no trouble having any woman he wanted. This proved to be more of a problem than anything else in his life, as it led to many failed marriages and relationships. However, despite the problems, Curly remained a notorious ladies' man all of his life.
Impressively, Curly never had any formal training in acting or comedy. In fact, many of his most famous lines and moments came out of improvisation. Both Moe Howard and Larry Fine admitted that they considered Curly the key to the success of the Stooges, saying that his natural comedic genius took their act to an entirely different level.
Steve Allen called him one of the "most original, yet seldom recognized, comic geniuses".
Father of Janie (born 1948) with fourth, and last wife, Valerie Newman.
Father of daughter Marilyn (born 1938) with second wife Elaine Ackerman.
Was considered one of the best ad-libbers of his time. He often did this whenever he forgot a line. Some of his antics included spinning around on the floor in a circle, and slithering across the floor like a snake.
His improvisation skills were so good that directors often just let the camera roll while he did his routine.
When he was 12 he was cleaning a shotgun when it went off and struck his foot. His brother Moe Howard rushed him to the hospital and saved his life. He refused corrective surgery and was left with a permanent limp. For his "Curly" character, he developed an exaggerated walk, not only for comic effect, but to hide the effects of that childhood injury.
In the early '50s Larry Fine, Moe Howard and Shemp Howard put together a pilot consisting of a hodgepodge of routines from previous two-reelers but sponsors, and networks passed on it. Comments included ' it was fun to see them in a free-wheeling situation but it was ineptly directed', 'it was impossible to tell what was going on' and 'a lot of the time the camera was on the wrong Stooge'.
Though he was the youngest of the three brothers, he was the first to pass away.
Moe and Shemp added younger brother Jerry to their troupe as child street performers, often dressing him as a girl because of his age. He had difficulty remembering his lines, and the older boys often wrote them on cards placed at various locations, sometimes on their own clothes. His inability to learn lines persisted through adulthood, as many of his vocal mannerisms were the result of ad libs when he couldn't remember his dialog.
At 5' 5" he was actually the tallest of the iconic three.

Salary (1)

Woman Haters (1934) $1,000 (split with Moe Howard and Larry Fine)

See also

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