Inside The Relationship Of The Three Stooges' Larry Fine And Mabel Haney

"The Three Stooges" was one of the most iconic and defining comedic shows of all-time. According to TV Tropes, this classic vintage television program is comprised of a multitude of comedy shorts filmed in the 1930s for Columbia Pictures. While the cast included a rotating roster of six members, the most famous was the trio Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Jerome Howard, who appeared on screen as the boisterous Moe, Larry, and Curly.

Their slapstick brand of comedy smacked audiences in the face, and served as inspiration for many of the modern comics we know and love today. According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, voice actor Billy West, who was the voice of Bugs Bunny and Stimpy, cited "The Three Stooges" as having a heavy impact on his vocal inflections. If you play back a vintage Looney Tunes cartoon, you can definitely hear some Larry Fine in the animated bunny rabbit's voice.

While the Stooges were "soitenly" a source of inspiration for generations of comedy to come, at least one of them was inspired by his wife. We're talking about the budding romance that gleamed between costars Mabel Haney and Larry Fine. Theirs was a love that knew no bounds and transcended all obstacles.

Larry Fine and Mabel Haney met as costars

Pennsylvania Heritage reports that Larry Fine, the wisecracking comic who appeared as Larry in "The Three Stooges" shorts, was born Louis Feinberg, the son of Jewish immigrants who made their way to America to escape religious persecution. Raised on Third and South Streets in Philly, the rising star had a habit of drawing crowds and was known to dance and clown around on the counters of his father's local jewelry store. When he wasn't entertaining the masses with his stellar violin skills and Charlie Chaplin impersonations, Larry was presenting prop-less, one-act plays for vaudeville comedian Jules Black.

As fate would have it, Jules Black signed comedian Larry Fine and dancer Mabel Haney to a five-year vaudeville performance tour and the two were immediately smitten. According to, Larry and Mabel were both born in Pennsylvania, and they shared a great many interests including the love of comedy, musicals, and dance, per Pennsylvania Heritage. As natural a match as they might have seemed, things were different in those days, and cultural dissimilarities created many barriers for them in the beginning.

Cultural barriers almost drove a wedge between them

According to Pennsylvania Heritage, the romance between the two vaudevillians Larry Fine and Mabel Haney was wrought with cultural complications. To hear Larry tell it, "She was Irish Catholic and I, of course, was Jewish. Both of us were also too young to marry."

Alas, neither age nor religion could permanently separate the two actors. They married in 1926, a move that involved Mabel Haney's conversion to Judaism. Cultural and age barriers now out of the way, the dancer officially became Mabel Fine (per Find a Grave): costar, wife, and soon-to-be mom, according to Pennsylvania Heritage.

The newlyweds then took their own show on the road, a merry blend of musical comedy and dance that also featured Mabel's sister Loretta Haney. Hidden City Philadelphia reports that it was this stage performance, which toured under "The Haney Sisters and Fine," in which Larry was tapped as a potential Stooge. Herein we see how his chemistry with wife Mabel played a part in landing him the role of a lifetime.

They reportedly raised their children in hotels

Even for a Stooge, Larry Fine was quite an eccentric character. He and his wife Mabel Fine reportedly lived an atypical lifestyle that was equal parts gambling, partying, and entertaining (via Find A Grave). But being the life of the party came at a price for the couple and their kids. The New York Times reports that Larry's gambling addiction ran rampant and the family was impoverished despite their fame.

Mabel bore two children throughout her 41-year marriage to Larry, per Pennsylvania Heritage. Their erratic lifestyle combined with Larry's love of gambling and Mabel's hatred of housework had an unexpected consequence: their children evidently grew up mostly in hotels. Atlantic City's infamous President Hotel at Albany Avenue and the Boardwalk — which has a twisted history of its own, complete with a rumored mobster convention and a U.S. Military takeover (via The Atlantic City Experience) — is said to be one of the places their children called home, according to Find a Grave.

Laughter through tears was their way of life

According to Pennsylvania Heritage, life was full of lumps for the slapstick actors who comprised "The Three Stooges." The injuries they incurred onscreen apparently weren't stunts but actual slaps and punches delivered to the face and body. Still, Larry and Mabel Fine stayed together despite the bruises and Larry's problematic gambling (via The New York Times).

While the Stooges were wildly popular, their pay rate maxed out at $20,000 per year, which translates to just $230,000 a year in modern money. Can you imagine today's biggest TV celebrities raking in that kind of cash? Talk about taking a pie to the face.

Although money was tight and showbiz was gut-punchingly fickle, Larry and Mabel always found a way to make it work. In 1961, the couple lost their son in a tragic and unexpected car crash, per Pennsylvania Heritage. The fatal blow was a major setback to the doting parents, but their marriage remained steadfast until the very end.

In 1967, Mabel died of a heart attack, and Larry suffered two strokes, dying in 1975. "The Three Stooges" was cemented in pop culture after decades of wisecracking comedy. Larry and Mabel were happily married for 41 of those years. Hailing from the school of hard knocks might not have been so heartbreaking after all.