Ted Healy

Actor, Comedian, Comedy writer
A vaudevillian comic and singer who later became a tough-talking, cigar-chomping supporting player in films, Ted Healy may be best recalled in show business history as the man who devised an act that would later spawn ... Read more »
Born: 09/30/1886 in Kaufman, Texas, USA

Filmography

Actor (6)

The MGM Three Stooges Festival 1982 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hollywood Hotel 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

Varsity Show 1936 (Movie)

(Actor)

San Francisco 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

San Francisco 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Sing, Baby, Sing 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Biography

A vaudevillian comic and singer who later became a tough-talking, cigar-chomping supporting player in films, Ted Healy may be best recalled in show business history as the man who devised an act that would later spawn The Three Stooges. He has subsequently gone from being the headliner they supported to being a footnote in story of The Stooges. Yet, Healy was a talented performer in his own right, so much so that MGM wanted him alone and not his back-up trio.<p> Born in Texas as Charles Nash, Healy began performing in amateur shows at a young age before adopting his new moniker and pursuing a career in vaudeville. In 1909, he was doing bit parts in silent films at the Vitagraph Studio in Brooklyn when he met Moses Horwitz (later Moe Howard), a young kid trying to break into show business. They teamed up on an act which they performed sporadically as Howard and his brother also were making inroads on the circuit. The Howard brothers joined Healy in 1922 as his "stooges", the guys who took the brunt of his comic slings and pratfalls while he got the spotlight. Shemp Howard left the act in 1925, replaced by vaudevillian Larry Fine. When Shemp returned, the group was billed as Ted Healy and His Three Stooges when they performed in the Broadway revue "A Night in Venice".<p> Hollywood beckoned and in 1930, the group was featured in "Soup to Nuts" under the billing of The Racketeers. The film, which tried to revive the slapstick of the Keystone Cop era, was a flop, and Healy and the Stooges were back on Broadway in "The Passing Show of 1932". In a contract dispute with producer J J Shubert, all but Shemp Howard left the production. Moe Howard suggested they hire his baby brother Jerry (later known as Curly). MGM put them in "Dancing Ladies" but the studio was more interested in Healy than his 'Stooges', so the act dissolved with the Howards and Fine moving to Columbia and Healy remaining at MGM. Over the next four years, Healy appeared in many features, the most prominent being his turn as a crony of gambling hall owner Clark Gable who utters the famous sarcastic line, "Give me $75 and I'll drop dead" in "San Francisco" (1936). He was back performing as opposed to really acting in "Hollywood Hotel" (1937), the last big Warner Brothers musical of the period and his final film was the posthumously released "Love Is a Headache" (1938).

Relationships

Marcia Healy

Sister

Betty Brown

Wife
worked as part of a dance team with husband before they married married in 1922 divorced in 1932

John Healy

Son
born in December 1937

Betty Hickman

Wife
second wife married on May 15, 1936 mother of John Jacob Healy

EDUCATION

DeLasalle Institute

New York , New York

Holy Innocents School

Houston , Texas

Milestones

1938

Final film, the posthumously released "Love Is a Headache"

1936

Had featured role as Clark Gable's crony in "San Francisco"

1932

Broke away from Stooges for solo career; signed MGM contract

1930

Made "Soup to Nuts" at Fox, billed as 'Ted Healy and the Racketeers'

1929

Appeared on Broadway with Stooges in "A Night in Venice"

1925

Added Larry Fine to the act

1922

Formed act with Moe and Shemp Howard that eventually developed into Ted Healy and His Three Stooges

1909

Met Moe Howard while both were hanging around Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn hoping for work; formed act together

1908

Family moved from Texas to NYC

Began performing in amateur shows as a solo singer and comic in blackface; had no act to say because he could not remember lines; would improvise impressions of stars and tell jokes

Decided to pursue professional show business career; changed name to Ted Healy

Was part of a dance team with future wife Betty Brown

Bonus Trivia

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Healy's death is shrouded in mystery. Contemporary newspaper reports claimed that he suffered head injuries in a brawl while out celebrating the birth of his son. Conflicting reports say he died of a heart attack at home, something his personal physician refused to claim on the death certificate.

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Despite all his seeming success, Healy died penniless and his burial was payed for by others. Again reports are conflicting with some claiming it was underwritten by Brian Foy while others saying it was staff members at MGM who took up a collection.

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