Sylvia Sky, M.A., M.F.A., experienced astrologer, writes about astrology, Tarot, and spirituality.
Moe, Larry, and Curly: Two Are Libras
Which astrological Sun and Moon signs govern the three members of the immortal slapstick comedy team of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Howard? Here’s the surprising answer: Moe is a Sun Gemini with either an Aquarius or Pisces Moon. Curly and Larry are both Libra Suns with Scorpio Moons.
They’re an air sign trio: off-the-wall, freewheeling, and anarchic. Librans Larry and Curly were born slightly more than a year apart: Larry (born Louis Feinberg) on October 5, 1902, in Philadelphia, and Curly (born Jerome Horwitz) on October 22, 1903, in Brooklyn. Curly’s older brother Moe (born Moses Horwitz), the Gemini, was born in Brooklyn on June 19, 1897.
The beloved original Three Stooges starred in 97 of 190 Stooges short films that Columbia Studios made between 1934 and 1959. As actors, the team cranked out a new low-budget 15-minute comedy every few weeks, which was shown in theaters before the featured movie. When Columbia sold their short films to television, The Stooges won another generation of fans: TV-watching kids. The Stooges then had to water down their act—because it was never meant for children—and began making goofy feature films.
The Three Stooges are still winning fans. It’s not their great acting. It’s their uniqueness and their chemistry.
This Trio Had Universal Appeal
Anywhere films or television exist, Three Stooges films are probably shown. It’s not necessary to understand English to enjoy them. The “boys” don’t actually talk much. A Stooges soundtrack has, instead of dialogue, lots of thumps, cracks, slaps, sound effects, and cries of pain. The “plots” of these short films usually have the Stooges seeking and obtaining jobs they fail at. Onscreen, the three lived together and stuck together like brothers, but no reason for their bond was ever given.
The Stooges Join Columbia Studios
The actors signed their first contract as The Three Stooges with Columbia Pictures on March 19, 1934. The chart of this date would have been important to them as the studio’s employees. Signed on the last day of a Mercury retrograde, the contract greatly favored the studio, which worked them hard, paid them poorly, and tried not to let them know how popular their films were. Moe in his autobiography wrote that the trio's contract came up each year for review. Fearing that Columbia might let them go, they didn't ask for raises. Instead, they made extra money touring when not filming.
The Three Stooges as the public came to know them played bit roles in earlier films but were “born” as stars with the release of their first short comedy film, “Woman Haters,” on May 5, 1934. From this date, taking sunrise as the day’s beginning, we can construct an astrological "birth" horoscope revealing the traits of The Three Stooges as a unit and a long-lived comedy sensation.
Meet the Guys
Moe played a brusque and bad-tempered Stooge, verbally abusing and assaulting the other two with knocks on their heads and pokes in the eyes. He got this from his former boss, Ted Healy, a vaudeville star who in the 1920s hired Moe and Shemp Howard, brothers, as his "stooges," slapping and poking them for comic effect. Moe one day saw Larry perform and asked him to join the team. Shemp, a sensitive Pisces, felt that Healy was truly abusive and quit, and Curly replaced him.
Larry and Curly, Libra Suns and Scorpio Moons, started out in music, not acting. Both worked hard and played hard, and were terrible with money—or, rather, they believed money was for spending.
Larry began his stage career as a violinist-comedian. Offstage or off camera, he gambled or gave his money away. Because he and his wife hated housekeeping, they lived mostly in hotels.
Curly Howard, a ladies’ man and heavy drinker who liked to dance, was married four times. His first three wives got most of his money. Curly had the least performing experience before joining the team, and some think that’s why he was the most unpredictable and surreal of the Stooges. In 1946 a massive stroke disabled Curly, then only 39 years old. He attempted a comeback, but died in 1952.
The men's personal birth horoscopes show their traits as ordinary people, not as the one-dimensional characters they played. Yet it is true that actors draw on their own traits and experiences to successfully play their roles.
The Stooges Dawn on Us: Saturday, May 5, 1934
Having no exact "birth" time allows an astrologer to see where the planets were positioned on that date, and how they meshed or did not mesh: partial but valuable information. The chart above is set for the moment of sunrise on May 5, 1934: the dawn of the Stooges as the world knows them.
That day the Sun was in Taurus and the Moon in Aquarius. In fact, the signs Taurus and Aquarius dominate this chart. The Aquarius Moon is particularly lucky for popularity; it has potential for appealing to the masses’ emotions and psyche, and milking that popularity.
The Taurus Sun signifies security and pleasure and also physical strength and loyalty. The Stooges first acted onscreen, as support for Ted Healy, in 1930. In 1970, while the team was making their sixth feature-length Stooge movie with their third substitute for Curly, Larry had a paralyzing stroke. The security of the Taurus Sun was not for the actors but for the act.
You can see in the chart four planetary symbols close together at the chart’s nine o'clock position. The upper three are a rare planetary conjunction of Mars, Mercury, and Uranus. Each planet, aggressive in its own way, has in this chart triple its normal power, as each actor did when teamed with the other two. These three volatile planets are all supported by the planet Neptune, which governs illusions, including the movie industry.
Add in that Mars and the Sun are in conjunction in Taurus. According to The Astrologer’s Handbook by Sakoian and Acker, a Mars-Sun conjunction “confers willpower, expressed in actions that require strength and courage. It is decidedly a masculine aspect. Individuals tend to be aggressive and self-assertive.” Definitely this characterizes the group and its dynamics.
Comedy Tailored for the Greatest Generation
The Three Stooges as film entertainment filled an emotional niche. Live and touring vaudeville shows were being replaced with movies and radio. In 1934, the bottom-most year of the Great Depression, movie audiences could identify with three drifters desperate for work. With no qualifications, they took jobs or posed as doctors, plumbers, ballerinas, fashion designers—anything—briefly getting away with it before chaos ensued. The Stooges' films brought slapstick violence close up and to an extreme that people at all levels found strangely therapeutic as well as entertaining.
Comedians, when popular, represent their times, and the planet ruling generational traits is Pluto. The Stooges act was “born” when Pluto was in Cancer, governing all people born from 1913 to 1939.
Those born with Pluto in Cancer became, as a generation (later known as “the Greatest Generation”) Cancerian types: cautious, frugal, insular, steadfast, kindly, very family-oriented. On the flip side, they were conformists, worriers, and gossips, behind other people’s backs verbally ripping them to shreds and wishing them ill. The Three Stooges acted out the Greatest Generation’s shadow side: lives with no responsibilities, inhibitions, filters, or brains. Yet the moral of every story was that irresponsibility brought pain and failure.
When two planets are diametrically opposed in a horoscope chart, they are said to be in “opposition,” or antagonists. The Stooges’ “debut” chart has no “oppositions.” The studio arranged it so the actors would work without resisting or making demands. Audiences did not object to the depictions of brutality. The violence walked a very fine line, a tribute to the actors' skills: It was just fake enough not to be troubling. Outside the theater in the 1930s and 1940s, reality for the masses could be just as brutal.
A Gemini and Two Librans
Gemini is the zodiac’s loose cannon and, at its most undeveloped level, cares mostly about money and notoriety. They are energetic, quick-thinking, business-minded, and ambitious because they are perpetually unsatisfied, and that can be a virtue. Geminis are also (pardon me) the Sun sign that can most resemble comic-book characters, either the heroes or the jerks, because they appear superficial. Maybe this is why although Stooge Moe was a bully it was impossible for the audience to hate him.
Moe the Gemini was the trio’s boss, just as he is in the films: his all-time favorite role was his burlesque of Hitler in the 1940 Stooges film You Nazty Spy. Three grown men with wives and children did not stand up to their bosses at Columbia Pictures and demand major money or more power over their careers because Gemini would rather be an underpaid Hollywood actor than no actor.
Gemini is the boss or "the rock" only if his followers do not raise objections. A trio of Air signs will not be well-grounded, and one of them had to lead. Moe had the most show-business experience.
Sun Librans can be risk-averse, uncomfortable with decision-making. They might allow others or fate to decide for them. Then Librans do their best with the fallout. This is not because they’re weak, but because they’d rather not rock the boat.
The Stooges are readable as a family unit, the Pluto-in-Cancer kind: pushy, punitive eldest, Moe; Larry, the clueless middle child; and Curly, the baby. The sense of a “family tie” explains why three such vividly different characters, always losers and abusing each other, remained together throughout their misadventures.
Larry and Jerome’s Scorpio Moons were practically in conjunction. Such strong chemistry was never duplicated with later substitutes for Curly (Shemp Howard, Pisces Sun, Virgo Moon; Joe Besser, Leo Sun, Virgo Moon; Joe DeRita, Cancer Sun, Taurus Moon). As Scorpio Moons, Larry and Jerome were serious artists within their very narrow and unchanging roles. Larry and Jerome gave the act their all. They were both disabled by and died of strokes, made more probable by stunts that sometimes resulted in head injuries.
Larry died in a nursing home in January 1975, and Moe died of lung cancer on May 5 that year, on the forty-first anniversary of The Stooges' signing with Columbia.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Sylvia Sky
Iqra from East County on May 04, 2021:
The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best remembered for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures.
Sylvia thanks for sharing
peace and blessings