While Moe revealed a highly detailed, compelling account of his professional life as a multi-talented comedian, it was his wife, Helen Schonberger, who revealed the uncharacteristically softer, loving side of her husband. According to Schonberger, this Stooge was a lifelong romantic, one who managed to go above and beyond to express his overwhelming love for Schonberger, even when they were oceans apart. The unconditional love the comedian had for his wife is perfectly illustrated in Schonberger’s account of a romantic surprise she once received from Moe, while he was away in London.
Despite being five thousand miles away from his wife on their anniversary, Moe still managed to express his love for her, hiring a professional singer to serenade Schonberger on their special day. A statement she backed up with the story of the couple’s 10 year wedding anniversary. This story is told by Schonberger in the book, “The Three Stooges Scapbook”: [T]he phone rang and a strange voice on the other end asked me if I would take Moe Horwitz for my lawful wedded husband. The voice then proceeded to perform the entire wedding ceremony, with me on one end and Moe (the mystery voice) on the other… at the end of the ceremony, in a beautiful baritone voice, he sang ‘Oh Promise Me,’ the song sung at our wedding.”
It’s Batman! - Batman the Sheriff
In addition to A-list actress Lucille Ball, TV's Adam West, widely known for his role as Batman in the popular 1960s television series, also made his mark on the Three Stooges, appearing in their film, “The Outlaws Is Coming”. Released in 1965, during the movie, West played the role of a Boston-based magazine, Kenneth Cabot, who after researching a buffalo slaughter, with some help from the legendary Annie Oakley, became an editor-turned-sharpshooter/town sheriff.
With the help of the Three Stooges, West’s character is able to successfully force a rambunctious gang of outlaws to surrender. This film—the Stooges’ final feature-length film—would go on to earn a whipping $1 million in box office sales: a truly grand lump of money in that day and age. This was the first of the many successful, highly ranked movies West would take part in throughout his fruitful acting career.
Moe’s Later Years
Though extremely popular among Stooges fans in the height of their success, he wasn’t always as well liked. Especially as his acting career drew to a close, Howard became particularly worried over the state of his finances. In an attempt to stabilize his income, in an unexpected twist, Horwitz turned to the real estate industry as a means of supporting himself and his family. Though he never truly ended his acting career, frequently returning to acting time and time again, following his official retirement from acting, by the end of his life, most of his time was dedicated to his career as a real estate agent.
As he grew older, Moe’s primary source of income was surprisingly not acting, but in fact the world of real estate. In 1973, Moe would make his last and final movie appearance in the 1973 film, “Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls.” Soon after, following a long battle against lung cancer—a disease he was (not surprisingly) diagnosed with after a life of heavy smoking—Horwitz passed away on May 4, 1975, at the age of 77. Though he began writing his autobiography, “I Stooged to Conquer,” sadly this Stooge was never able to finish telling his story, and passed away before the book was completed.
Two Brothers Get Their Start
In 1921, Ted Healy hired the first Stooge, Moe Howard, to work in a vaudeville act. Like his brother, Shemp Howard too aspired to make it as an entertainer. Alongside his brother Moe, the two brothers performed in a number of amateur and vaudeville acts.
In 1922, as fate would have it, the two ran into former schoolmate and vaudeville comedian Ted Healy, who required a replacement for his current act at the Brooklyn prospect theater. Soon after, Moe and Shemp joined Healy’s act.
In 1925, Shemp eventually made the decision to leave his dual-brother act with Moe. During a performance attended by Shemp, Moe and Healy, the group quickly found their replacement: Larry Fine. After being discovered by the group during his stage performance, confident he found Shemp’s replacement Stooge, Healy offered Larry Shemp’s position for a salary of $90 a week.
While Larry quickly accepted this offer, Shemp would later join Moe and his replacement, thus forming the original Three Stooges.