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Shemp Howard Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (33)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Brooklyn [now in New York City], New York, USA
Died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameSamuel Horwitz
Nickname The Forgotten Stooge
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Shemp Howard was born Samuel Horwitz in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He was also the brother of fellow stooges Moe Howard and Curly Howard. Larry Fine was not related to any of the other stooges.

When not working with The Three Stooges, Shemp made a lot of feature film appearances, such as The Bank Dick (1940) with W.C. Fields. Shemp, Moe, Larry and Curly appeared in only one short together -- Hold That Lion! (1947). In it, Curly appears as an uncredited train car passenger. Watch for the man with the hat on his face. This was a short, non-speaking cameo, due to a stroke Curly suffered the prior year.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Daniel Dopierala

Spouse (1)

Gertrude "Babe" Frank (15 March 1925 - 22 November 1955) ( his death) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (4)

Like brother Curly with his infamous "Woo-woo-woo" and "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk", Shemp also had a well-known quirk - he would go, "Gee-gee-gee-gee-gee!" in many of his films.
His hair, which was long enough to cover his eyes and often fell into disaray during the rough antics of the Three Stooges films.
Homely appearance (as a publicity stunt, he was named the "Ugliest Man in Hollywood").
Slow drawl

Trivia (33)

Member of what would become The Three Stooges until 1933, when he was replaced by his brother Curly Howard (Jerome) until 1946. Shemp rejoined the team following Curly's debilitating stroke.
Died in the back seat of an automobile on the way home from watching a boxing match.
Following his death, he was interred at Home of Peace Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
Son of Sol Horwitz; brother of actors Curly Howard and Moe Howard, and non-actors, Jack Horowitz and Irving Horowitz.
He got the name "Shemp" when he was a child. Whenever his mother would say his name, "Sam", the combination of her heavy Lithuanian accent and abrupt manner of speaking made it come out sounding like "Shemp". The name stuck.
After Curly Howard had his stroke, Shemp was brought back, with Curly's blessing, to be a stopgap until Curly got better. Unfortunately, Curly never got well enough to continue, so Shemp stayed with The Three Stooges until his death.
The phrase "to shemp" meaning "to fake" was coined from the actor's name. It was inspired by Columbia's use of an uncredited double in order to complete several of The Three Stooges shorts left uncompleted at the time of Shemp's death.
Was multiphobic, many who knew him jokingly said he was even afraid of his own shadow.
Director Sam Raimi, a huge fan of The Three Stooges, credits stand-ins and body doubles in his movies as "Fake Shemps", a reference to the body doubles that Columbia Pictures used after Shemp's death.
He, Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard appear in only one short together, Hold That Lion! (1947). Curly appears uncredited as a train car passenger (watch for the man with the hat on his face). This was a short, non-speaking cameo, due to Curly's health issues.
His favorite Stooges comedy was Fright Night (1947), his first comedy with The Three Stooges, and which dealt with boxing.
His favorite actors were Richard Arlen, Andy Devine and Horace McMahon. Patsy Kelly was his favorite actress and Fred Allen was his favorite radio comedian.
Was an avid boxing fan.
Had a son named Mort Howard (Feb. 26, 1927 - Jan. 13, 1972).
During the early 1940s, when his solo career was at its height and he was a contract player at Universal Studios appearing with everyone from Bud Abbott and Lou Costello to W.C. Fields to John Wayne, he was promoted as "The Ugliest Man in the Movies".
Once when he and his brother Moe Howard, as children, were left to watch younger brother Curly Howard (Jerome), they turned his baby carriage into a soapbox racer and were about to test it out when their parents came home.
Like brother Moe Howard, he played hooky from school often and his mother would have to come down and straighten things out. When he graduated grade school, it was said that he did not graduate, but his mother did.
When he was six years old, at a family picnic, he sneaked off with a plate of tomatoes and hit a man with them. The man dragged Shemp back, kicking and screaming, Shemp's mother beat the man with her umbrella.
He was Alex Trebek's favorite Stooge.
As a teen, he once crashed his car through the front window of a barbershop. The incident shook him up so much that he never drove again in his life.
Was forced to leave his vaudeville act with Moe Howard when he was drafted during World War I; he was soon sent back home because he was very nervous about being a soldier, and the army did not want a bedwetter.
Performed together with brother Moe Howard in vaudeville, accomplishing a rare feat of working for two different vaudeville companies at the same time when actors from one company were not hired by another. They achieved this by performing a blackface act for one company, then doing a whiteface act for the second.
Was reportedly good friends with Huntz Hall.
Was the tallest of all the Stooges.
He was of Lithuanian ancestry.
Has two granddaughters from son Mort: Jill Howard (b. May 02, 1953) and Sandie Howard (b. Oct 05, 1956).
During the 1940s, he had his own series of comedy shorts that were made at Columbia by the same team that were making the Three Stooges shorts.
His wife Gertrude (1897-1982) was a cousin of retired Congressman Barney Frank.
Of the six men who became members of The Three Stooges, he was the tallest at a towering 5' 7".
After attending the boxing matches, he slipped into the back seat of a taxi. He was mimicking the action of the boxers when he suddenly slumped over. He was only 60 years old.
In the early 50's he Larry and Moe 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 'alot of the time the camera was on the wrong Stooge'.
Was a lifelong friend of Vernon Dent who made many appearances in The Three Stooges short films.
As a young man, he attended a trade school to learn to be a plumber. His younger brother Moses (Moe) also attended the trade school and studied to be an electrician.

Personal Quotes (2)

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neit'er was Syracuse.
There's a thousand reasons why I shouldn't drink... but I can't think of one right now.

See also

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