Louis Feinberg, known professionally as Larry Fine, was an American actor, comedian, violinist and boxer, who is best known as a member of the comedy act The Three Stooges. Fine was born to a Russian Jewish family at 3rd and South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 5, 1902.
At an early age, Fine started performing as a violinist in vaudeville. In March 1928, while starring as the master of ceremonies at Chicago’s Rainbo Gardens, Fine met A Night in Spain. Since Howard was leaving the play for a few months, they asked him to be a replacement ‘stooge.’ Fine joined Ted's other stooges, Bobby Pinkus and Sam ‘Moody’ Braun. Howard returned in September 1928 to finish Spain's national tour. and Ted Healy. At the time, Healy and Howard were performing in the Shubert Brothers’
In early 1929, Healy signed a contract to perform in the Shuberts’ new revue A Night in Venice. Healy brought Fine, , and Moe Howard together for the first time as a trio. “Moe, Larry and Shemp,” with Fred Sanborn, appeared in Venice from 1929 through March 1930. Fine, , and Moe Howard toured as “Ted Healy & His Racketeers” that spring and summer, and then went to Hollywood in the summer to film Fox Studio’s Soup to Nuts (1930).
Beginning in 1932, the Three Stooges made 206 short films and several features, their most prolific period starring Fine, Moe Howard and Curly Howard. However, their career with Healy was marked by disputes over pay, film contracts, and Healy’s drinking and verbal abuse. Fine and the Howard brothers finally left Healy for good in 1934.
In many of the Stooge shorts, the Larry character did more reacting than acting, staying in the background and serving as the voice of reason in contrast to the zany antics of Moe and Curly. Like the other Stooges, Larry was often on the receiving end of Moe’s abuse. His reasonableness was the perfect foil to Moe’s brusque bluntness and Curly or Shemp’s boyish immaturity, but Larry would sometimes propose something impossible or illogical and be quickly put down by Moe, both verbally and physically.
The Larry character’s on-screen goofiness has been described as an extension of Fine’s 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 Fine’s suggestions for the scripts were often “flaky,” but occasionally contained a good comic idea.
The Three Stooges became a big hit on television in 1959, when Columbia Pictures released a batch of the trio’s films, whose popularity brought them to a new audience and revitalized their careers.
Larry was notoriously bad with money and had a habit of spending it as soon as he got it. e was an avid gambler, but also lent money to friends and family without the expectation of repayment. Due to his financial situation Larry and his wife and children lived in hotels for most of his career, and did not own a house until the late 1940’s.
The Stooges attempted to make a final film in 1969, Kook's Tour, which was essentially a documentary of Howard, Larry, and Curly Joe out of character, touring the United States, and meeting with fans. Production abruptly halted when on January 9, 1970, Larry suffered a major stroke during filming, paralyzing the left side of his body. He died on January 24, 1975, at age 72. Enough footage of Larry was shot so that Kook's Tour was eventually released in a 52-minute version to home video.