Where Are The Three Stooges Buried?

A century ago, the Horwitz brothers began a journey in vaudeville that would lead to gags and physical comedy that would still be enjoyed into the following century. The Three Stooges had their roots in an act started by Moses Horwitz and Ted Healy, soon adding Moses' brother Samuel and friend Louis Feinberg. Billed now as "Ted Healy and His Stooges," Moses (Moe Howard), Samuel (Shemp Howard), and Louis (Larry Fine) toured the circuit, keeping the audiences in stitches. When Shemp left the act, he was replaced with yet another Horwitz brother, Jerome (Curly Howard). Moe, Larry, and Curly were the trio that made the leap from the vaudeville stage to the silver screen, starring in scores of film shorts under contract with Columbia Pictures.

Eventually, a stroke suffered by Curly forced him into early retirement, prompting the group to bring back Shemp. After Shemp died from a sudden heart attack, he was briefly replaced by Joe Besser. It was Besser who was with Moe and Larry for the final short films that The Three Stooges are most known for. Several years later, Besser was replaced by Joe DeRita (Curly Joe), who starred as the third Stooge in the full-length films the group made in the 1960s (via Britannica).

Altogether, there were six Stooges. Curly was the first to die, in 1952 (via Mental Floss). The last to expire was DeRita, who died in 1993 (per the Los Angeles Times).

Curly was buried in East Los Angeles

The only time all four original Stooges appeared on screen at the same time was in a scene during the 1947 short "Hold That Lion." Look carefully when the trio is moving through a passenger car on the train and you'll see a sleeping passenger. During their brief interaction with him, you'll be able to recognize the napping man as Curly (via IMDb). (The scene is posted on YouTube.)

According to IMDb, Jerome Howard — the beloved Curly — made over 100 appearances as a Stooge on film. Some of these acting credits include shorts like "A Bird in the Head," "Beer Barrel Polecats," "If a Body Meets a Body," "G.I. Wanna Home," and more. Curly died in 1952 after his health waned from the strokes he began suffering several years earlier (per Find a Grave). He shares the same cemetery with his brother Shemp: Home of Peace Memorial Park in East Los Angeles.

Shemp is in the same cemetery as Curly

Like most of the other Stooges, Shemp Howard, born Samuel Horwitz, was a prolific actor. According to his biography on the Shemp Howard website, Shemp starred in many short subjects and feature films — well over 100. He also worked with prestigious actors Marlene Dietrich, Rudy Vallee, Abbott & Costello, John Wayne, and more. Shemp's name actually came about from a mispronunciation of the nickname Sams, due to the thick European accent of his mother.

Shemp didn't live too much longer than Curly did, suffering a fatal heart attack in a taxicab he was riding in following a boxing match he attended (per Cigar Aficionado). Shemp died on November 23, 1955 (also via Find a Grave). The remains of both Shemp are in the Home of Peace Memorial Park in East Los Angeles, California — according to its website, "the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Los Angeles area."

Moe Howard was laid to rest elsewhere in Los Angeles County

Fans might be surprised to find out that the man who would become the most violent of the Stooges began his career as a dramatic actor. The New York Times reports that Moe had his start as an entertainer on a Mississippi River showboat but was not received well. Leaving that style behind him, he teamed up with Ted Healy in 1923 for comedy performances before recruiting Shemp and Larry Fine to join the act. After the vaudeville era petered out, Moe and company left the stage behind and became legends of the short film world.

Like his brothers and Larry Fine, Moe would be universally known as a Stooge, having few other roles in his expansive film and TV career in which he played something other than his Stooge character. His likeness has been featured on more Stooge merch than can be counted, his face appearing on everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts to action figures.

The last of the original Stooges to die, Moe died after a battle with lung cancer on May 4, 1975 (per The New York Times). He is buried in a different cemetery from his brothers, however. Find a Grave tells us that he was put to rest in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California, part of Temple Israel of Hollywood.

Larry Fine is at rest near other Hollywood stars

Larry Fine spent virtually all 50 years of his career in entertainment playing the role of one of the original Stooges. His more than 200 screen credits are almost all attributed to the character he developed in his early days as a vaudeville star. Scores of film shorts, starring roles in half-a-dozen feature films, a starring role in a cartoon series, and countless public appearances and cameos kept this Stooge's schedule full (per IMDb).

The New York Times reported the death of Larry Fine on January 25, 1975. The great comedic entertainer had died the day before, the casualty of a series of strokes that had plagued him over his last several years. Though confined to a wheelchair, Fine still made time for his fans and even made visits to area schools, where he would host and show students various Three Stooges films. The remains of Louis Fineberg are in a crypt in a mausoleum at the Forrest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California (via Find a Grave), the final resting place of Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, Chico Marx, and about 250,000 others (per Seeing Stars).

Joe Besser is buried not far from Larry Fine

Also known as the fifth Stooge, Joe Besser was a familiar face to Three Stooges producer Jules White. Besser had starred in some film shorts White had produced and would eventually be cast to fill the void that the death of Shemp left in the cast. Before becoming an official Stooge, Besser gained hilarious notoriety on "The Abbot and Costello Show," playing a neighbor child named Stinky Davis (via IMDb). On the show, Stinky would taunt, harass, punch, kick, bite, and otherwise terrorize Lou, stealing every scene he was in. Perhaps it was this brand of physical humor that producers felt made him ideal for filling the role of a deceased Stooge.

Besser's tenure as a Stooge didn't last long. He was only in a little more than a dozen film shorts before Columbia Pictures eliminated their film shorts division. This move left unemployed the group that had been with the studio since the early 30s.

Besser went on to be a successful voice actor, appearing in various cartoons until his retirement in 1986. Besser died of heart failure at 80 in 1988 (per The Washington Post). He is buried at Forrest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, not far from the grave of fellow Stooge Larry Fine (via Find a Grave).

A North Hollywood cemetery is the final resting place of Curly Joe Derita

Joe DeRita made his debut as a Stooge in the feature film "Have Rocket, Will Travel," the first full-length Stooges movie produced. It ushered in an era of Stooge feature films, all featuring DeRita as "Curly Joe." "Snow White and the Three Stooges," "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules," and "The Three Stooges Go Around the World in a Daze" were among the screen credits DeRita added to his growing film resume (via IMDb).

DeRita spent more time voicing his Stooge character than he did playing it on camera. In "The New 3 Stooges," DeRita joined Moe and Larry in providing the voices for an animated cartoon series that debuted in 1965. The 197 episodes produced far exceeded the time DeRita spent as a live-action Stooge. The sixth Stooge worked a bit on screen after the end of the cartoon, appearing on an episode of "Ozzie and Harriet" in 1966 and "We're Off to See the Wizard" in 1967. He made several cameo appearances as Curly Joe before retiring from acting in 1975.

The last Stooge left this world on July 3, 1993, after a series of strokes confined him to a nursing home, where he died after a lengthy bout with pneumonia (via the Los Angeles Times). He was buried at Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, California (per Find a Grave)