The unknown side of Curly, the kindest “Crazy”: he rescued more than 5,000 dogs from the streets and found them homes

The unknown side of Curly, the kindest “Crazy”: he rescued more than 5,000 dogs from the streets and found them homes
The unknown side of Curly, the kindest “Crazy”: he rescued more than 5,000 dogs from the streets and found them homes

One of the scenes from the episode “De canes a can”, from 1939, where Curly’s dogs participate

Curly Howard He is, without a doubt, one of the most beloved characters in the series that transcended generations. In black and white, with jokes and hilarious scenes, The Three Stooges (The Three Stooges) appeared on the American screen in 1923, but in 1934 it was incorporated Jerome Lester Horwitz to give life to the bald man who received constant beatings (not always acted) from Moe or Moses, his older brother in real life.

Dear Curly He was part of the comedy trio until 1946when the darkest stage came to his life: a serious stroke left him unable to continue acting and he was replaced by his brother Samuel Horwitz (Shemp Howard in the comic strip). The following year, he was diagnosed with hypertension, retinal hemorrhage and obesity, a general condition that continued to worsen his state of health until, in 1949, he suffered the second stroke and shortly after had small strokes, for which he had to be hospitalized urgently. in it Cedars Of Lebanon Hospital in Hollywood. He died on January 18, 1952 at the age of 48.

In addition to leaving countless gags and funny episodes in the series that made him world famous, Jerome participated in more than twenty feature films and shorts; He was recognized as a film, television and theater actor, and also as a screenwriter, voice actor and film producer. Perhaps, the least known facet of him (except for his fans) was that of protectionist and his tireless work for abandoned dogs: He came to rescue about 5 thousand from the streets. Although he already had a dozen in his house, he adopted several and personally took care of finding a home for those he was rescuing. While that was happening, he had them in transit, as the action of rescuing an animal, keeping it at home and giving it the necessary care is called today until they finally find a family.

One of the scenes from “De can a canes”

The nickname is due to the fact that Jerome had a head full of curlers, which he shaved to fit the characteristics of the character who immortalized him along with his brothers.

In the contract, according to investigators of his life, he asked for a special clause to Columbia Pictures: Being allowed to bring his dogs to the recording studio because he didn’t want to leave them alone while he worked. In the environment, he was already known not only for his love of dogs but also for stopping on any road to rescue any dog ​​he saw hopeless from the streets, something rare in the 1930s.

Respecting that wish, Columbia accepted, but asking that there be no more than two each day of recording because, especially the puppies, they did their thing on the set: they appeared in the middle of filming and became part of the scenes that were finally emitted into the air, thus maintaining the freshness of the moment. Fans of the series remember, especially in the groups that revive the series of yesteryear, how from time to time they would see “surprise invasions of dogs in the first chapters of the program.”

The beloved actor was recognized for his love of dogs

He was born on October 22, 1903 in Brooklyn, New York, and was the fifth and last child of the Horwitz family, which earned him the family nickname “Babe”; he was of Levite and Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. Over the years, when his curly blonde hair began to attract attention (around the time his brother married a woman named Babe), his nickname changed to curly (an English word that means curls) and he was even asked to keep it for the character who consecrated it.

On stage, he created a series of reactions and expressions (and onomatopoeic sounds) that the rest of the cast had to understand as well as copy: “N’yuk, n’yuk, n’yuk”he used it when he laughed at his own ideas; “Woo, woo, woo,” They used it to appear scared, when courting a lady or when fleeing from danger; “N’yahh!” expression of fear that the other Stooges continued to use after Curly left the cycle. Finally, “Ruff, ruff,” As it could not be otherwise, he invented a dog bark.

Even in that expression he used to give himself courage and before finishing a scene, Curly wanted to pay tribute to his beloved dogs, whom he did not hesitate to protect. When the group went on tour through different cities, it was enough for them to pass by any place and see one alone and helpless to stop, approach, take it in their arms and continue on their way with the animal on them.

One of his dogs in a scene from The Three Stooges

Although no one wrote it in his biography, it would not be strange if he talked to him on the road. At least, his acquaintances said in different interviews after his death that in addition to taking him to his house and keeping him safe until they found him a family, when he did, he visited him. Nowadays, this is called adoption tracking.

It is estimated that there were 5,000 dogs that Curly saved and changed their lives. Without a doubt, he was one of the first rescuers of the last century. In his home she lived with two Collies, a Cocker Spaniel, some miniature Schnauzers and a Boxer.

In the book “Curly: An Illustrated biography of the Superstooge,” by Joan Howard Maurer (Moe Howard’s daughter), tells about the character of those dogs, which she describes as “the stuck-up guy.” “Some barked until they were tired, others were surly, butor they were all one-owner dogs and loved only Curly. For Curly, his canine companions didn’t ask much of him, they were always affectionate, it cost very little money to care for them, and they were forever loyal.”

Curly with the dogs he rescued and had in his house until he found them a home

In an interview his ex-wife Elaine Ackerman (whom she married for the second time on June 7, 1937) recalled a sad moment in the life of the actor, misunderstood by his family: “We had a little dog, it was a puppy, and he was crazy about that dog, he loved everyone, but I was crazy about that one. At one point, I remember that day very well, he went out with me for a walk and when he saw Curly coming walking he ran towards him, but he crossed in front of a car and they killed him in front of us.”

Curly ran desperately towards the animal whose name the woman did not say and recounted the situation somewhat cheerfully. “I didn’t want to go home because he was very angry, upset, he had gotten really, really bad,” she reveals. The brilliant actor could not lift the animal alone and asked his brother for help to do so, who, without understanding the love he felt for his dogs, suggested that he look for another…

From that marriage, Marilyn, Curly’s first daughter, was born, but the couple divorced on July 11, 1940. On October 17, 1945, he married Marion Buxbaum, whom she divorced after three months, on January 14, 1946, a fact that the press of the time gave great coverage because they had to go through the courts. After that separation, the screenwriter’s health began to decline.

Curly and Moe, his older brother

At 30 years old, Curly had become the undisputed star of the program with the highest audience. His personality, his gestures, expressions and the overflow of charisma, in addition to his acrobatic acts, soon made him the audience’s favorite. His innate spontaneity, because he had no acting training, crossed the screens.

The directors realized this and did not hesitate to shower him with praise by emphasizing that the scripts in Curly’s scenes practically did not exist because He “simply improvised and changed the plot of the script, due to lack of memory”. Among the classic routines, objects that flew through the air, such as cakes, tools, utensils—with which they were also hit—were used at his free will to achieve scenes in which he let his ingenuity come out.

His own brother Moe recalled that Curly used to forget his lines and he reviewed a very particular moment: in one scene he completely forgot what he should say and fell to the ground, began to spin like a top until, finally, he remembered the dialogue.

Moe, Larry and Curly, the protagonists of the television series “The Three Stooges”, who with their funny falls, slaps and pokes in the eyes amused several generations of Argentines, have a museum that honors them in Adrogué and is the first in all of Ibero-America (Télam)

But, behind the camera he was an introvert who rarely socialized with people unless his siblings were around.

During the last years of his marriage to Elaine, Curly gained excessive weight and began to have hypertension. His fame caused situations that he could not deal with and he also began to have emotional problems that led him to drink too much. To that was added the lack of interest in your financial life, the squandering of assets and most of his fortune: he spent exaggerated sums on drinks, properties that he later lost, and cars. Keeping the dogs well also cost him a lot of money, but the goal was valid.

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