Ted Healy


Actor, Comedian
Ted Healy

About

Also Known As
Charles Ernest Lee Nash
Birth Place
Kaufman, Texas, USA
Born
October 01, 1886
Died
December 21, 1937

Biography

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 ...

Family & Companions

Betty Brown
Wife
Dancer, singer. Worked as part of a dance team with husband before they married; married in 1922; divorced in 1932.
Betty Hickman
Wife
Second wife; married on May 15, 1936; mother of John Jacob Healy.

Notes

Healy's death is shrouded in mystery. Contemporary newspaper reports claimed that he suffered head injuries in a brawl while out celebrating the birth of his son. Conflicting reports say he died of a heart attack at home, something his personal physician refused to claim on the death certificate.

Despite all his seeming success, Healy died penniless and his burial was payed for by others. Again reports are conflicting with some claiming it was underwritten by Brian Foy while others saying it was staff members at MGM who took up a collection.

Biography

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).

Life Events

1908

Family moved from Texas to NYC

1909

Met Moe Howard while both were hanging around Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn hoping for work; formed act together

1922

Formed act with Moe and Shemp Howard that eventually developed into Ted Healy and His Three Stooges

1925

Added Larry Fine to the act

1929

Appeared on Broadway with Stooges in "A Night in Venice"

1930

Made "Soup to Nuts" at Fox, billed as 'Ted Healy and the Racketeers'

1932

Broke away from Stooges for solo career; signed MGM contract

1936

Had featured role as Clark Gable's crony in "San Francisco"

1938

Final film, the posthumously released "Love Is a Headache"

Videos

Movie Clip

Jazz Boat (1960) - I Wanna Jive Tonight The actual and highly popular Ted Healy band performs, inside the real Chislehurst Caves in south-east London, Anthony Newley as just introduced Bert, Joyce Blair his date, Bernie Winters his pal Jinx, whose friends Spider, Holy Mike and “The Dancer” (James Booth, David Lodge and Al Mulock) are planning a heist, in Jazz Boat, 1960.
Speed (1936) - Modernized Confusion Test driver Terry (James Stewart, in his first top-billed role) is showing the new PR gal Jane (Wendy Barrie) around the plant, joined by his buddy, inventor-mechanic Gadget (Ted Healy) then getting big-footed by the bigger-shot engineer Frank (Weldon Heyburn), early in MGM’s Speed, 1936.
Speed (1936) - -- Isn't The Driver Hurt? MGM creating auto industry ambiance using Chrysler facilities in Detroit for the action shots, Wendy Barrie, Weldon Heyburn and Ted Healy introduce themselves before James Stewart, as "Terry," in his first top-billed role, in the low-budget feature Speed, 1936.
Dancing Lady (1933) - Get A Load Of Park Avenue In a Broadway burlesque theater, affluent Tod (Franchot Tone) and pals catch the act featuring Rosette (Winnie Lightner, song by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed), Janie (Joan Crawford, then Mrs. Tone) among her hotties, then a raid, opening Dancing Lady, 1933, co-starring Clark Gable.
Dancing Lady (1933) - Gone Hollywood MGM at play here, Broadway director Patch (Clark Gable) griping with aide Steve (Ted Healy), then chased by aspiring dancer Janie (Joan Crawford), who later commiserates with her would-be sugar-daddy Tod (Franchot Tone, Crawford's husband), in Dancing Lady, 1933.
Dancing Lady (1933) - Stick Her In The Front Line The younger Three Stooges (Larry Fine on piano, Moe and Shemp "Curly" Howard) are the rehearsal band, their cohort Ted Healy is fixer "Steve," who decides Janie (Joan Crawford) deserves a look from director Patch (Clark Gable), whom she's been pestering already, in Dancing Lady, 1933.
San Francisco (1936) - Let's See Your Legs Still in the opening scenes, New Year's Eve 1905, dignified Mary (Jeanette MacDonald) gets past floor-boss Babe (Harold Huber) to popular club owner Blackie (Clark Gable), who causes her to pass out, early in MGM's San Francisco, 1936.
San Francisco (1936) - Did You Say Smart? In 1905, club owner Blackie (Clark Gable) sparring with childhood pal Tim (Spencer Tracy) whom we shortly learn is "Father" Tim, then approached by civic leaders about running for office, in MGM's San Francisco, 1936.

Trailer

Man of the People - (Original Trailer) After years playing villains, Joseph Calleia gets to be the hero as an immigrant studying law in Man of the People (1937).
Stage Mother - (Original Trailer) Maureen O'Sullivan's mother will sacrifice anything, even her daughter if it will make her a star in Stage Mother (1933).
Love Is A Headache - (Original Trailer) A freak accident gives a fading actress (Gladys George) a huge publicity push in Love Is A Headache (1938).
Band Plays On, The - (Original Trailer) Robert Young is one of the "Four Bombers," four street kids who mend their ways when they take up football in The Band Plays On (1934).
Varsity Show - (Original Trailer) Broadway producer Dick Powell has trouble staging a college variety show, so he calls in Busby Berkeley in Varisty Show (1937).
Longest Night, The - (Original Trailer) A department-store head (Robert Young) tries to stop a gangland plot.
Mad Holiday - (Original Trailer) A temperamental film star's vacation turns deadly when he uncovers a murder on Mad Holiday (1936).
Lazy River - (Original Trailer) Ex-convicts try to stop a Chinese smuggling ring in Lazy River (1934) starring Robert Young.
Here Comes The Band - (Original Trailer) A trial for song stealing becomes a good excuse for a variety of musical acts in Here Comes The Band (1935).
Murder in the Fleet - (Original Trailer) Robert Taylor got his first starring role solving a Murder In The Fleet (1935) when he becomes a suspect.
Dancing Lady - (Re-issue Trailer) Joan Crawford loves Clark Gable but sings and dances with Fred Astaire in Dancing Lady (1933) with a guest appearance by the Three Stooges.
San Francisco - (Re-issue Trailer) A beautiful singer and a battling priest try to reform a Barbary Coast saloon owner in the days before the big earthquake in San Francisco (1936), starring Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.

Family

Marcia Healy
Sister
John Jacob Healy
Son
Born in December 1937.

Companions

Betty Brown
Wife
Dancer, singer. Worked as part of a dance team with husband before they married; married in 1922; divorced in 1932.
Betty Hickman
Wife
Second wife; married on May 15, 1936; mother of John Jacob Healy.

Bibliography

Notes

Healy's death is shrouded in mystery. Contemporary newspaper reports claimed that he suffered head injuries in a brawl while out celebrating the birth of his son. Conflicting reports say he died of a heart attack at home, something his personal physician refused to claim on the death certificate.

Despite all his seeming success, Healy died penniless and his burial was payed for by others. Again reports are conflicting with some claiming it was underwritten by Brian Foy while others saying it was staff members at MGM who took up a collection.