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|Also Known As:||Charles Ernest Lee Nash||Died:||December 21, 1937|
|Born:||October 1, 1886||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Kaufman, Texas, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor comedian comedy writer singer|
A vaudevillian comic and singer who later became a tough-talking, cigar-chomping supporting player in films, Ted Healy may be best recalled in show business history as the man who devised an act that would later spawn The Three Stooges. He has subsequently gone from being the headliner they supported to being a footnote in story of The Stooges. Yet, Healy was a talented performer in his own right, so much so that MGM wanted him alone and not his back-up trio.
Born in Texas as Charles Nash, Healy began performing in amateur shows at a young age before adopting his new moniker and pursuing a career in vaudeville. In 1909, he was doing bit parts in silent films at the Vitagraph Studio in Brooklyn when he met Moses Horwitz (later Moe Howard), a young kid trying to break into show business. They teamed up on an act which they performed sporadically as Howard and his brother also were making inroads on the circuit. The Howard brothers joined Healy in 1922 as his "stooges," the guys who took the brunt of his comic slings and pratfalls while he got the spotlight. Shemp Howard left the act in 1925, replaced by vaudevillian Larry Fine. When Shemp returned, the group was billed as Ted Healy and His Three Stooges when they performed in the Broadway revue "A Night in Venice."
Hollywood beckoned and in 1930, the group was featured in "Soup to Nuts" under the billing of The Racketeers. The film, which tried to revive the slapstick of the Keystone Cop era, was a flop, and Healy and the Stooges were back on Broadway in "The Passing Show of 1932." In a contract dispute with producer J J Shubert, all but Shemp Howard left the production. Moe Howard suggested they hire his baby brother Jerry (later known as Curly). MGM put them in "Dancing Ladies" but the studio was more interested in Healy than his 'Stooges', so the act dissolved with the Howards and Fine moving to Columbia and Healy remaining at MGM. Over the next four years, Healy appeared in many features, the most prominent being his turn as a crony of gambling hall owner Clark Gable who utters the famous sarcastic line, "Give me $75 and I'll drop dead" in "San Francisco" (1936). He was back performing as opposed to really acting in "Hollywood Hotel" (1937), the last big Warner Brothers musical of the period and his final film was the posthumously released "Love Is a Headache" (1938).
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