Before younger brother Curly joined the group, Shemp Howard was the third member of this Vaudeville sensation. He decided to try and make it as a solo act and appeared in such flicks as W.C. Fields The Bank Dick and both the series of Charlie Chan and The Thin Man films. He did not play the thin man.
Shemp also performed with Abbott and Costello. Costello never once yelled “Hey, Shemp!” in their films.
In 1946, Curly had a stroke, and Shemp stepped into doing the two-reel comedies temporarily just to keep his brothers employed. As Curly got worse, it became apparent that Shemp would have to become a permanent member of the troupe. Eventually he became known for his ‘Bee-Bee-Bee” sound that he would use to show different emotions. This incarnation of the Three Stooges lasted for 73 episodes.
On November 22, 1955 Shemp Howard had a heart attack. He was in a cab coming back from a boxing match. After his death, Joe Palma donned a Shemp style wig and finished the last four contracted shorts for the studio. Which goes to prove that the show must go on, even after one’s own demise.