Lot 289

Larry Fine 3x Signed ALS on Problematic Memoir "Stroke of Luck", One Year Before His Death

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Larry Fine 3x Signed ALS on Problematic Memoir "Stroke of Luck", One Year Before His Death

Estimate: $400 - $500

Current Bid: $350

(3 Bids)

June 26, 2024 10:00 AM EDT
Live Auction
Wilton, CT, US


Larry Fine
Woodland Hills, CA, March 25, 1974
Larry Fine 3x Signed ALS on Problematic Memoir "Stroke of Luck", One Year Before His Death
A letter from Larry Fine (1902-1975) of the Three Stooges and addressed to longtime fan John Ewanik, providing intimate details on the publishing of his new memoir. 2pp (front and back), measuring 6" x 7.5", undated, Woodland Hills, CA. Signed in three separate instances as "Larry Fine", twice within the body of the text and again at the letter's conclusion. Accompanied by its original mailing envelope, sent from the Motion Picture Country House and stamped March 25, 1974. With a bonus Three Stooges greeting card, ca. 1980. Expected letter folds present, with minor creasing and tearing to envelope. Otherwise, near fine.

Within, Larry discusses creative differences with the editor/publisher of his 1973 book, "Stroke of Luck", who seemingly took advantage of the star's ill health by taking creative liberties and overall credit for its writing. Reading in part:

"I'm not bragging, but between all the articles in newspapers, magazines, and the Ntl Enquirer, telling of my stroke, there are many, many wonderful people who take the time to send me get well wishes… I really wrote the Book, because the volunteer workers around here who many of which were professional typists for big movie producers, thought I should put down on paper some of my memoirs. When James Carone and his wife came to visit me, he read what was written down and said he could turn it into a book. He took the original script, which was typewritten, and copied it in long hand, made many errors, so he could claim he wrote the book, as I am handicapped.

But all the time he had the book copywritten in his name, and published it himself. I had no idea of this, as he told me he had a publisher… explaining that the book would have the title 'A Stroke of Luck'… written by Larry Fine as told to James Carone. Instead he put (as you know) written by James Carone, as told by Larry Fine… After he took the manuscript I told him I would like to add a few things about Joe Besser and Joe DeRita, but he said none of our fans would be interested in them, because Joe Besser only made a few shorts, and Joe DeRita a few features.…

Right now I'm upset. I can't get in touch with him, and I'm getting lots of letters and phone calls from kids who have waited 2 months and haven't gotten the book yet…."

Toward the end of his life, Fine had retired to the Motion Picture Country House, where he spent his remaining years. By 1970, he had suffered a debilitating stroke, leaving the left side of his body paralyzed and ultimately marking the end of his performance career. Even in his immobilized state however, Fine did what he could to entertain the other patients at the Country House, and completed his "as told to" autobiography "Stroke of Luck".

The book, self-published by James Carone, did not have the benefit of a proper editor and notably contains many grammatical, historical, and picture caption errors. Nevertheless, the book presented Larry's life and career from his personal perspective, and provided Three Stooges fans with something they had yet to experience: a first-hand account of the group's history. Indeed, it was the first book about the Three Stooges, by one of the Three Stooges.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


  • 6" x 7.5"
  • Artist Name:
  • Larry Fine
  • Medium:
  • ALS

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