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Larry Fine

Larry Fine

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Also Known As: Louis Feinberg Died: January 24, 1975
Born: October 5, 1902 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: comedian, singer, musician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

at the all-too-young age of 48.Less focused on work than Moe and far less self-destructive than Curly, Larry nonetheless had his fair share of flaws and foibles. Chronically late for engagements, Moe and Curly (and later, Shemp) were frequently forced to stall interviewers, camera crews and audiences as they waited for their tardy partner to arrive. This lackadaisical attitude to work crossed over to matters of finance as well. For Larry, money was meant to spend, not save, and he did so freely, often gambling away his salary or loaning out large sums of money to any friend pitching an investment scheme. Nomadic by nature, Larry and Mabel preferred hotel living, moving the family from the President Hotel in Atlantic City to Hollywood¿s famed Knickerbocker Hotel for a number of years before finally purchasing a home of their own in the Los Feliz area in the late-1940s.By 1948 it was clear that Curly¿s temporary retirement would be permanent, prompting Larry and Moe to convince Shemp to remain with the Stooges, despite the latter¿s desire to maintain a solo career. Although Curly would forever remain a favorite with fans, the group continued to enjoy substantial popularity throughout the remainder of...

at the all-too-young age of 48.

Less focused on work than Moe and far less self-destructive than Curly, Larry nonetheless had his fair share of flaws and foibles. Chronically late for engagements, Moe and Curly (and later, Shemp) were frequently forced to stall interviewers, camera crews and audiences as they waited for their tardy partner to arrive. This lackadaisical attitude to work crossed over to matters of finance as well. For Larry, money was meant to spend, not save, and he did so freely, often gambling away his salary or loaning out large sums of money to any friend pitching an investment scheme. Nomadic by nature, Larry and Mabel preferred hotel living, moving the family from the President Hotel in Atlantic City to Hollywood¿s famed Knickerbocker Hotel for a number of years before finally purchasing a home of their own in the Los Feliz area in the late-1940s.

By 1948 it was clear that Curly¿s temporary retirement would be permanent, prompting Larry and Moe to convince Shemp to remain with the Stooges, despite the latter¿s desire to maintain a solo career. Although Curly would forever remain a favorite with fans, the group continued to enjoy substantial popularity throughout the remainder of the 1940s and well into the next decade, with memorable shorts like "I¿m a Monkey¿s Uncle" (1948) and "Corny Casanovas" (1952). Then, in a one-two punch of tragedy, a mere three years after Curly¿s passing, Shemp died from a heart attack in 1955 after appearing in more than 70 shorts with Larry and Moe. The heartbreak of losing his two brothers proved almost too much for Moe, who seriously considered ending the act permanently. While Moe contemplated what to do next, the final few films scheduled with Shemp were cobbled together using existing footage of the older Stooge and stand-in Joe Palma ¿ referred to as "Fake Shemp" in Stooges lore ¿ for efforts like "Rumpus in the Harem" (1956) and "Commotion on the Ocean" (1956).

With a few more years left on their contract with Columbia, Larry and Moe ultimately decided to recruit portly comedian Joe Besser to come aboard as the third Stooge. For most fans, this period of the classic Three Stooges was by far the worst. Besser, a talented comedian in his own right, had a whining delivery that did not sit well with established rough-house repartee of the previous era. Additionally, the short-subject department was being downsized at Columbia, resulting in increasingly rushed production schedules and more dependence on recycling footage and storylines from earlier films. Besser contributed to 16 shorts alongside Larry and Moe, until Columbia chose not to renew their contract in late-1957, unceremoniously ending a 24-year relationship ¿ the longest of any comedy group in movie history. Though Moe was the de facto business manager for the Stooges, and managed his own money wisely, he unfortunately failed to parlay the group¿s popularity into higher paychecks. Paid a substantial $20,000 per month when they began their stay at Columbia, they were making the exact same salary a quarter of a decade later. For his part, Larry had managed his own finances so poorly over the years that he suddenly found himself on the verge of bankruptcy.

With no contract in hand and Besser leaving the group soon after their firing by Columbia, Moe was at last ready to concede to retirement, much to the dismay of a financially strapped Larry. Television, however, had by this point become a ubiquitous presence in the American household, and after Columbia began releasing the Stooges vast catalogue of short films in syndication, Larry and Moe were shocked to see a sudden resurgence of interest in their old comedy team. Intending to give audiences one last peek at the Stooges, Moe recruited comedian Joe DeRita to join him and Larry for a live, one-night farewell performance. When the show sold out, they quickly signed DeRita ¿ dubbed "Curly Joe" ¿ full-time and went back to the studio. This latest roster of Stooges went on to star in six full-length features, beginning with the space romp, "Have Rocket - Will Travel" (1959) and ending with "The Outlaws is Coming!" (1965). As popular as ever ¿ admittedly now more as kitsch than contemporary comedy ¿ the Three Stooges could be seen in cameo appearances in major films and television specials. Their goofy visages even adorned lunch boxes and comic books. Moe and the boys recorded dozens of live-action skits that bookended the regular segments of their own cartoon series, "The New 3 Stooges" (syndicated, 1965-66). But as fond as America still was of their beloved Stooges, it became increasingly clear that age was catching up with Larry and Moe, as their pacing slowed down and the physical comedy, once so kinetic and brutal, had been reduced to little more than a playful tussle amongst old men.

Performing up to their usual standards was becoming particularly difficult for Larry, who was beginning to have trouble saying his lines ¿ a sign of the strokes that would increasingly plague him in the years to come. Larry, Moe and Curly Joe made one last memorable appearance as the "Three Men in a Tub" in an episode of the primetime children¿s fantasy show "Off To See the Wizard" (ABC, 1967-68). Despite their advanced ages, they continued to develop more Three Stooges ventures, leading them to once again attempt to get a weekly television series off the ground. Although earlier small-screen efforts ¿ "Jerks of All Trades" (1949) and "The Three Stooges Scrapbook" (1960) ¿ had failed to bear fruit, the trio went to bat again with "Kook¿s Tour" (1970), a pilot for an intended series that would feature the "retired" Stooges gallivanting around the globe and causing chaos. Plans were scrapped, however, after Larry suffered a debilitating stroke that paralyzed the entire left side of his body shortly after filming the unaired program. Following another series of strokes, Larry Fine died at the age of 72 in January 1975. More than 40 years after "Kook¿s Tour," The Three Stooges remained a constant presence on television and at fan conventions held nationwide. A cinematic love letter was later delivered by Stooge devotees, comedy filmmakers Bobby and Peter Farrelly who co-wrote and directed the hilarious homage, "The Three Stooges" (2012), with actor Sean Hayes in the role of Fine.

By Bryce Coleman essential ingredient in the success the Three Stooges enjoyed during those halcyon years with Columbia. And while youngsters were reduced to giggling hysterics by their violent physical comedy, parents were notoriously wary of the material, fearing their impressionable children might imitate the trademark eye gouges, or pinch a sibling¿s nose with a pair of pliers. Truth, be told, the onscreen rough-housing occasionally did result in a cracked rib or skull for the committed comedians.

The 1940s and America¿s entry into World War II quickly provided the Three Stooges with one of their easiest targets ever: Adolph Hitler. Moe caricatured the Nazi dictator for the first time as the puppet leader of the country "Moronica" in the side-splitting satire, "You Nazty Spy!" (1940), which was a particular favorite of Larry¿s. In contrast to the never-ending hardships the trio comically faced on screen, real-life tragedy struck when immediately after filming "Half-Wits Holiday" (1947), Curly suffered a debilitating stroke that forced him to retire from show business. Optimistic as they were, Larry and Moe hoped that Curly¿s withdrawal would be a temporary one and convinced a reluctant Shemp to rejoin the group until such time as the younger Howard felt well enough to return. Unfortunately, the recuperation never came. Other than a brief cameo in "Hold That Lion" (1947) ¿ featuring the only scene in which Larry, Moe, Shemp and Curly all appeared onscreen together ¿ Curly never performed again. After a series of strokes that left him increasingly infirmed, the youngest Stooge died in a nursing facility in 1952

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Comics, The (1965) Guest
4.
 The Big Idea (1934)
5.
 Plane Nuts (1933)
6.
7.
 Nertsery Rhymes (1933)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
As therapy for a burn accident, learned to play the violin; played at amateur nights in South Philadelphia
1917:
Sang and played violin at movie slide shows for $2 per performance
1921:
Joined Gus Edwards' Newsboy Sextette as musician and comedian
1922:
Performed with wife and sister-in-law as "The Haney Sisters and Fine"
1925:
Appeared with Ted Healy, Moe Howard, and Shemp Howard in act that would evolve into The Three Stooges
1929:
Performed on Broadway in "A Night in Venice"
1930:
Film debut with Healy and co. in "Soup to Nuts," then billed as 'The Racketeers'
1934:
After departure of Healy, The Three Stooges signed to contract with Columbia
1934:
Co-starred with Moe and Curly Howard in first Three Stooges short "Woman Haters"; appeared in 190 comedy films as member of The Three Stooges
1934:
Shared writing credit with fellow Stooges in film short "Punch Drunks"
1940:
Co-starred with fellow Stooges in satirical short "You Nazty Spy!"
1946:
Curly suffered a stroke during the filming of "Half-Wits Holiday" and replaced by Shemp
1951:
Co-starred, along with Moe and Shemp, opposite George O'Brien in the Western feature "Gold Raiders"
1955:
Following Shemp's death of a heart attack, Joe Palma and then Joe Besser brought in as part of The Three Stooges
1959:
After Moe formed new Stooges act with Fine and Joe DeRita (as Curly-Joe), trio co-starred in "Have Rocket ¿ Will Travel"
1965:
Featured in the live action and animated series "The New 3 Stooges"
1965:
Appeared in final "Three Stooges" feature film "The Outlaws Is Coming!"
1970:
Attempted to make final Stooges film "Kook's Tour"; production halted after suffering a stroke
2000:
Portrayed by Evan Handler in the ABC TV-movie "The Three Stooges"
2012:
Portrayed by Sean Hayes in the Farrelly brothers' comedy feature "The Three Stooges"
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Education

Southwalk Grammar School: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -

Notes

Fine's favorite feature was "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules" (1962).

"He tended to be a bit of a goof-off. But not a real goldbricker; he just wasn't as dedicated as Moe was." --director Ed Bernds

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Mabel Haney. Vaudevillian. Met Fine on vaudeville circuit, formed act, "The Haney Sisters and Fine"; died on May 30, 1967.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph Feinberg. Shopkeeper. Owned watch repair and jewelry shop.
mother:
Fanny Feinberg. Shopkeeper. Owned watch repair and jewelry shop.
brother:
Morris Feinberg. Younger.
brother:
Philip Feinberg. Younger; died as an infant.
sister:
Lyla Feinberg Budnick. Schoolteacher. Born c. 1920.
son:
Johnny Fine. Born c. 1947; died in car accident on November 17, 1961 at age 24.
daughter:
Phyllis Fine.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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