LARRY FINE Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Name: Larry Fine                                                                       
Birth name Louis Feinberg                                                               
Born: 5 October 1902 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                         
Died: 24 January 1975 Woodland Hills, California                                       
Larry Fine (October 5, 1902 - January 24, 1975) was an American comedian and           
actor, who is best-known as a member of the comedy act The Three Stooges.               
Larry was born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the corner         
of 3rd and South Streets. His father, Joseph Feinberg, and mother, Fanny               
Lieberman, owned a watch repair and jewelry shop. The building there is now a           
restaurant which is called "the birth place of Larry Fine" but is not actually         
where he was born. The upstairs houses a small Stooge museum. When Larry was a         
child, he burned his arm with some of his father's acid, which was used to test         
whether or not gold was real, mistaking it for a cool drink (The child had the         
bottle to his lips when the father noticed. In a panic, the father slapped the         
bottle from Larry's hand, splashing the child's forearm with acid). He received         
violin training to help strengthen his damaged muscles. This talent would be           
observed in many of the Stooges' films; in fact, when all three are seen playing       
fiddles onscreen, only Larry is actually playing his instrument, while the             
others are pantomiming. To further strengthen his arm, Larry took up boxing as a       
teenager. He fought and won one professional bout, but this career was put to an       
immediate stop by his father, who was opposed to Larry's fighting in public.           
His experience in boxing, however, no doubt served him well in his later career         
as a Stooge.                                                                           
As Larry Fine, he first performed as a violinist in vaudeville at an early age.         
In 1925, he met Moe Howard and Ted Healy. Howard and his brother Shemp had been         
working as audience stooges for Healy. Shemp left soon after to attempt a solo         
career and was in turn replaced by another brother, Curly. Larry's trademark           
bushy hair came out, according to rumor, from his first meeting with Healy, in         
which he had just wet his hair in a basin, and as they talked, it dried oddly.         
Healy told him, according to the story, to keep the zany hairstyle and lose the         
violin. (He would later play the violin again in a handful of Stooges shorts.)         
Beginning in 1933, The Three Stooges made 190 short films, and several features,       
with their most prolific period featuring the characters of Larry, Moe and Curly.       
Their career with Healy was marked by disputes over pay, film contracts, and           
Healy's drinking and abuse. They left Healy for good in 1934.                           
In many of the Stooge shorts, Fine did more reacting than acting, staying in the       
background and providing the voice of reason between the extreme                       
characterizations of Moe and Curly. (in the short Three Loan Wolves, Larry was         
pressed into service to replace an ailing Curly, who was unable to perform as           
the lead stooge.) After Curly left the act, Larry shared screen time equally           
with his two partners.                                                                 
But in the earliest Stooge two-reelers (and occasionally the later ones) Larry         
indulges in utterly nutty behavior. He would liven up a scene by improvising           
some random remark or ridiculous action. In the hospital spoof Men in Black,           
Larry wields a scalpel and chortles, "Let's plug him... and see if he's ripe!"         
In Disorder in the Court, a tense courtroom scene is interrupted by Larry               
breaking into a wild Tarzan yell. Of course, after each of his outbursts, Moe           
would gruffly discipline him. It is said that Larry had developed a callus on           
one side of his face from being slapped innumerable times by Moe over the years.       
Larry's on-screen goofiness was an extension of his own relaxed personality.           
Director Charles Lamont recalled, "Larry was a nut. He was the kind of guy who         
always said anything. He was a yapper." Writer-director Edward Bernds remembered       
that Larry's suggestions for the scripts were often "flaky," but would                 
occasionally contain a good comic idea.                                                 
Offstage, Larry was a social butterfly. He liked a good time and surrounded             
himself with friends. Larry and his wife, Mabel, loved having parties and every         
Christmas threw lavish midnight suppers. Larry was what some friends have called       
a "yes man," since he was always so agreeable, no matter what the circumstances.       
Larry's devil-may-care personality carried over to the world of finance. He was         
a terrible businessman and spent his money as soon as he earned it. He would           
either gamble it away at the track or at high-stakes gin rummy games. In an             
interview, Fine even admitted that he often gave money to actors and friends who       
needed help and never asked to be reimbursed. Joe Besser and director Edward           
Bernds remember that because of his free spending, Larry was almost forced into         
bankruptcy when Columbia terminated the Three Stooges comedies in December 1957.       
Because of his prodigal ways and his wife's dislike for housekeeping, Larry and         
his family lived in hotels first in the President Hotel in Atlantic City, New           
Jersey, where his daughter Phyllis was raised, then the Knickerbocker Hotel in         
Hollywood. Not until the late 1940s did Larry buy a wonderful Mediterranean home       
in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, California.                                       
The Stooges became a big hit in 1959 on television, when Columbia Pictures             
released a batch of the trio's films. The popularity brought the Stooges to a           
new audience and revitalized their careers.                                             
On May 30, 1967, Fine's wife, Mabel, died of a sudden heart attack, a blow that         
abruptly ended 40 years of marriage. Her death had come nearly six years after         
another family tragedy: the death of their only son, John, in a car accident on         
November 17, 1961. The couple's daughter, Phyllis, died of cancer at the age of         
60 in 1988. John's wife, Christy (Kraus), died on October 26, 2007, after a             
lengthy illness.