The Three StoogesEdit
Garner was one of over 20 comedians who worked as part of Ted Healy's stooge act with his cousin, Jack Wolf and Richard Hakins between 1922 and 1936.
In 1931, the original stooges, Shemp Howard, Moe Howard and Larry Fine left Healy and form their own act "Three Lost Souls" (also known as "Howard, Fine & Howard". Garner, Jack Wolf and Dick Hakins hired by Healy to took their places on Broadway shows. After the Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine & Curly Howard) left Healy again and form their own act called "The Three Stooges" in 1934, Garner, Jack Wolf (later replace by Sammy Wolfe) & Hakins took their places permanently.
Following Ted's mysterious death in 1937, Mousie, Dick and Sammy Wolfe form their own act called "The Gentlemanics". When The Gentlemaniacs began billing themselves as "Ted Healy's Original Stooges", Moe, Larry and Curly sued them for using Three Stooges moniker and win.After Joe Besser left the act in 1957, Larry considered Mousie to Moe for replacing Joe. Moe tried him out, but he felt Mousie is "unacceptable" to become the Stooge. So, Moe later turned his choice to veteran burlesque comic, Joe DeRita in December 1958.
In 1974, The Three Stooges had booked a tour of stage and nightclub shows and personal appearances. However, Larry Fine had suffered a debilitating stroke in 1970 and Joe hired Mousie as "middle stooge" for filling Larry's role what would ultimately be the part of last official incarnation of the Three Stooges. Mousie & Joe asked Moe to join, but Moe health is getting deteriorated and unable him to getting personal appearances tour. With Moe's permission, they turn to veteran actor Frank Mitchell for "first stooge" role and named themselves as "The New Three Stooges".
They performed music-based comedy, mostly. A good portion of which was reworked from Mousie's nightclub act. The first appearance of the team was at a nightclub just outside Boston, MA. Despite concerns by the team that the act would flop due to them not being the "real stooges", it was a great success. The act toured throughout the year, but was cut short due to DeRita losing his eyesight.
In 1985, Garner was given a bit part in, appropriately, the film Stoogemania. In 1994, he was then appeared in the film Radioland Murders as an homage to his work in vaudeville. Also in 1994, he appeared as himself in A&E's Biography of The Three Stooges, titled The Men Behind the Mayhem. His autobiography, entitled Mousie Garner: Autobiography of a Vaudeville Stooge, was published in 1999. His nephew, Stephen Garner, a professional magician from Maryland, supplied most of the pictures for the book. Mousie also played a zany cameraman in David Lee Roth’s "Just a Gigolo" music video.
More recently, he acted as Uncle Smackers, a character in The Onion Movie, a feature film produced by David Zucker, renowned for Airplane! and the Naked Gun series.
After suffering from kidney problems, Garner quietly died on August 8, 2004 at age 95. He was the last major celebrity associated with Ted Healy and Three Stooges to pass.