The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. Their hallmark was physical farce and extreme slapstick. In films, the stooges were commonly known by their first names: "Moe, Larry, and Curly" and "Moe, Larry, and Shemp," among other lineups. The film trio was originally composed of Moe Howard (1897-1975), brother Shemp Howard (1895-1955) and longtime friend Larry Fine (1902-1975). Curly Howard (1903-1952) replaced brother Shemp, who later returned when Curly suffered a debilitating stroke in 1946.