While no longer quite as relevant as they once were, The Three Stooges were one of the most popular and iconic comedy troupes of the 20th century. As their name would seem to suggest the act was technically a trio, but the Stooges were in fact portrayed by six comics between 1922 and 1970. During this time, the Stooges were the focus of 190 short subject films produced by Columbia Pictures.
Moe Howard and Larry Fine were mainstays throughout the Stooges’ half-century run, while the pivotal third Stooge was played first by Shemp Howard and then later Curly Howard, Joe Besser, and “Curly Joe” DeRita.
The titular all-male outfit usually received most of the audience’s attention, but over the years, the Three Stooges were frequently accompanied on-screen by female co-stars appearing in various capacities.
Join us as we take a little trip down memory lane to discuss actresses who appeared in many of the Three Stooge’s production
Facts Verse Presents: The Top Women of the Three Stooges Cast
With poise and grace, looks to kill, a voice befitting that of an angel, and impeccable comedic timing, actress Christine Mcintyre brought a much-needed dose of elegance to three dozen of the Three Stooge’s short films.
The Nogales, Arizona-native signed a decade-long contract with Columbia Pictures in 1944. She went on to bring a level of sophistication and style to many short subjects that starred folks like Shemp Howard, Andy Clyde, Bert Wheeler, Hugh Herbert, and Joe Besser. Mcintyre’s signature highfalutin socialite character was first established in the Herbert comedy Wife Decoy.
She made her debut appearance with the Stooges in 1944s Idle Roomers. She followed that appearance up with a role in a solo Shemp Howard short called Open Season for Saps.
1945s Micro-Phonies was the first film to showcase Mcintyre’s ethereal singing voice. She later belted out songs in films such as 1947s Out West, 1948s Squareheads of the Round Table, and the 1954 remake of Knutzy Knights.
One of Mcintyre’s most memorable moments involved her performance as Miss Hopkins in Brideless Groom. That film featured a highly acclaimed knockabout scene in which she repelled her suitor Shemp Howard straight through a door.
By the early 50s, Mcintyre’s acting career had begun to slow down. In 1953 she married radio personality John Donald Wilson. When her contract with Columbia expired in 1954, she was more than happy to retire from show business for good.
After leaving Hollywood behind, she enjoyed a successful career in real estate before passing away from a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 73.
Born in Portland, Maine, on the sixth of January, 1908, actress Dorothy Appleby gained early acting experience serving as an understudy and a chorus member in theatrical productions in New York City. Prior to that, she had been a winning beauty contestant back in New England.
Throughout her acting career, Appleby appeared in more than 50 films that were released between 1931 and 1943. Because of her short stature, Appleby never progressed to leading roles in major films. At just five feet tall, her early leading men, such as Charley Chase, towered over her.
After signing with Columbia Pictures, Appleby made frequent appearances in Three Stooges short subjects. A few of her Stooge comedies included Loco Boy Makes Good, Pie, Sweet Pie, and So Long Mr. Chumps.
One of her most notable Stooge roles was playing a Mexican brunette named Rosita in 1940s Cookoo Cavaliers. In that offering, she ended up getting clobbered by the Stooges when her facial mask made of concrete dried on her face. Due to her petite figure, Appleby continued to play younger roles throughout the 40s. One of her last screen roles was in 1941s Small Town Deb. In that flick, she played a college co-ed even though she was 35.
Shortly after making that appearance, Appleby left Hollywood in 1943 and married musician Paul Drake. The two divorced in 1980, and Appleby passed away in Hicksville, New York on the ninth of August, 1990 at age 84.
Born Jean Donahue on April 15, 1923 in Los Angeles, Wiles spent some of her childhood in Seattle before moving to Salt Lake City. Eventually, her parents moved back to LA, where she began acting with a local theater group.
After getting married and adopting the surname Wiles in 1947, Jean made her film debut in 1948s The Winner’s Circle. Though she would ultimately appear in close to 65 films throughout her 28-year acting career, modern viewers are likely most familiar with her roles in Three Stooge shorts, A Snitch in Time, Gypped in the Penthouse, and Don’t Throw That Knife.
Director Edward Bernds was particularly fond of Wiles and ended up casting her in many of his shorts and features. Over the course of her time in Hollywood, Wiles played a broad assortment of characters ranging from an Air Force Captain to a street walker.
In time Wiles transitioned to television, debuting on the small screen in an episode of Boston Blackie. She went on to appear in dozens of TV series in various roles and genres, including The Californians, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, and The Beverley Hillbillies.
Wiles continued to appear in TV shows and films until the mid-70s, when she retired with her second husband NFL player Gerald Cowhig, in Van Nuys, California. She died of liver cancer at the age of 65 on January 3, 1989.
Slater was born in New York City on December 17,1920. She was the daughter of a celebrated painter father and actress mother. After studying in Switzerland, Slater signed a contract with Paramount. Less than a year later, she secured her release and started working with other studios.
In the 1940s, Slater appeared in two Three Stooge films. In 1942s Three Smart Saps, she played Curly Howard’s rumba dancing partner. At close to six feet tall, Slater towered over the comparatively pocket-sized Stooge.
In Half-Wits Holiday, Slater played Lulu Quackenbush. Thinking that it was edible, in that short Curly wound up scarfing down Lulu’s lipstick.
Since the Stooges were so popular, Slater can be seen on TV almost daily worldwide due to the franchise’s constant TV broadcasts.
In addition to acting, Slater also modeled with the John Robert Powers Agency in the early 40s. In 1947, she left Hoillywood and got married to character actor Robert Foulk. The two remained happily married until Foulk’s death in 1989. Slater then married a man named Charles Sims before passing away of natural causes at 78 on October 14, 1997.
This actress was born on March 5, 1894. While not much is known about her early life, she wound up appearing in 120 films between 1925 and 1956.
Boniface is best known for portraying a high society matron and comic foil in several Three Stooges films. She had perfect comic timing and frequently intercepted flying pies that were hurdling toward her face.
In both No Census, No Feeling and Crash Goes The Hash, she humorously dealt with a shrinking or tearing skirt. In Loco Boy Makes Good, she squirmed uncontrollably thanks to a mischievous mouse that was crawling down her back. And in her final appearance Vagabond Loafers, she arguably stole the show with her witty one-liners.
Boniface’s most memorable Stooge appearance was in Half-Wits Holiday. In that film she starred opposite Moe Howard and Curly in his last starring role.
Boniface’s acting career pretty much peaked with her Three Stooge’s appearances. She sadly ended up dying of pancreatic cancer on September 2, 1950 at the age of 56.
This actress and model appeared in 20+ films throughout the 1940s. She was born in Springfield, Missouri, in 1920 and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before her family moved to LA in 1940.
Not long after arriving in southern California, hunter signed a multi-picture deal with Columbia. She quickly became popular with matinee audiences for co-starring in four Durango Kid movies. She also enjoyed a supporting role in the 1948 comedy The Mating of Millie, sharing the screen with Evelyn Keyes and Glenn Ford.
Once again, Hunter is best known to modern viewers for her roles in several of the Three Stooges films, including Sing a Song of Six Pants, Fiddlers Three, and I’m a Monkey’s Uncle.
After her contract with Columbia lapsed, Hunter found work as a model and later as a store manager. After retiring, she went to live with her brother in Las Vegas.
Hunter died of natural causes at 92 on March 23, 2012.
Born Virginia Pound on July 26, 1917, Lorna grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the Great Depression. Before she appeared in films, she used to sing with a group in Cleveland, Ohio, called Ben Yost’s Varsity Coeds. This singing group performed primarily in movie theaters before the film’s began, and that’s how she ended up gaining the attention of Universal Studios.
After having a film test with the studio, she actually ended up signing her first contract with Paramount. Gray made her first big film with Columbia and went on to become a contract player with them appearing in shorts and serials – the most popular being The Three Stooges. Perhaps her best-known Stooges role was in 1940s You Nazty Spy, in which she played the daughter of the king of the fictional country of Moronika.
Gray continued to appear in films produced by Columbia, Paramount, and Republic until retiring from acting in 1951. in 2011, she was a guest at the annual Three Stooges convention in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. Six years later, she died at age 99 on April 30, 2017, in Sherman Oaks, California.
Known for her round figure, Gittelson was frequently cast as a love interest who often intimidated her boyfriend or husband. Notable examples of her appearance in these kinds of roles were in the early Three Stooges films Slippery Silks, The Sitter Downers, and Dizzy Doctors. Her most famous role in a Stooge film was in 1936s False Alarms. Gittelson also appeared in quite a few non-Stooges films typically in minor roles. Full-length features in which she received roles include 1933s King Kong, 1935s Mark of the Vampire, and 1939s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Gittelson died at age 83 on November 28, 1993, in Northridge, California.
That about wraps up our rundown of the women who frequently appeared in Three Stooges films. In the comments let us know who your favorite female character was from the Three Stooges franchise. While you’re at it, feel free to mention any other female star who made an appearance alongside everyone’s favorite slapstick comedy troupe.