Curly Howard, born on October 22, 1903, was a vaudevillian actor and comic. He rose to fame as a member of the famous comedy team named “The Three Stooges,” which featured his brothers Shemp and Moe Howard. He was considered to be the most recognizable and popular of the Stooges and admired for his exceptional comedic skills, improvisations, physical comedy, and athleticism marked his uniqueness as an actor. He passed away on January 18, 1952, at 48. Join us as we pay tribute to an actor who left us way too soon.
Curly Howard was born in New York City’s Brooklyn borough in the U.S. His birth name was Jerome Lester Horwitz. His full Hebrew name was ‘Yehudah Leib bar Shlomo Natan HaLevi.’ He was the youngest of five children of Solomon Horwitz and Jennie Gorovitz.
Growing up, Howard was a rather shy and quiet kid who rarely caused trouble for his parents, unlike his older brothers. A mediocre student when it came to academics, he excelled at athletics. He was also a part of his school’s basketball team. However, he decided to not pursue higher education and work instead. Howard did not graduate from high school and began working odd jobs for a living. He also developed an inclination toward dancing and singing. Over the course of time, he became a proficient singer and ballroom dancer. He would regularly perform at Brooklyn’s Triangle Ballroom. He was also interested in comedy and music and often watched his brothers perform as stooges in vaudeville. After their performance was over, Howard would hang around backstage.
In 1928, he made his on-stage debut as a comedy musical conductor. His natural comic charm and childlike mannerism made him an instant hit with audiences, especially children. Between 1940 and 1943, he appeared in a number of short acts like “Cactus Makes Perfect,” “A Plumbing We Will Go,” “An Ache in Every Stake,” “We Want Our Mummy,” and “They Stooge to Conga.” His final appearance with the Stooges was in 1947 in a short film, “Half-Wits Holiday.”
Howard becomes a part of the comedy group The Three Stooges.
Howard appears in a short comedy, “A Plumbing We Will Go.”
Howard acts in his first feature-length film, “Rockin’ in the Rockies.”
Howard stops working due to deteriorating health.
Why We Love Curly Howard
Howard was unique
When he was 12 years old, Howard accidentally shot himself in the leg while cleaning a rifle. His brothers rushed him to the hospital, which saved his life, but he ended up with a slight limp and a noticeably thinner left leg. He never got his limp corrected. Instead, the actor developed the famous exaggerated walk to conceal it on screen.
He had talent
Howard was one of those rare actors who excelled at the craft without formal training. His comedic skills were exceptional, so much so that directors would simply roll the cameras and let him improvise.
Howard had a successful life story
The actor lived an accomplished life, albeit a short one. He lived the shortest life among The Stooges and passed away at 48.
5 Surprising Facts
His beliefs were rooted in Judaism
The actor was of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry.
His brothers nicknamed him
They called him ‘Babe’ to tease him because he was the youngest.
A nickname swap
“Babe” stuck with Howard until he had to share it with his sister-in-law.
A new nickname
As there were two Babes in the household, his brothers renamed him ‘Curly’ to avoid confusion.
He became sickly
Howard’s health began deteriorating in 1946 when he suffered his first stroke.
Curly Howard FAQs
Why did Curly Howard leave The Three Stooges?
He left the trio because he suffered a stroke, which led to a decline in his health.
Did Curly Howard save dogs?
An animal lover, estimates suggest that Howard had saved and found homes for over 5,000 dogs in his lifetime.
Who was curly Howard’s wife?
The actor had four marriages. He was married to Julia Rosenthal from 1930 to 1931, and then he tied the knot with Elaine Ackerman from 1937 to 1940. After that, he was with Mario Buxbaum between 1945 and 1946. During his final days, he got hitched to Valerie Newman, whom he married in 1947.
Curly Howard’s birthday dates