Monday 20 August 2018

Joe DeRita

Born: 12 July 1909, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 3 July 1993, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA

Joe DeRita began his career acting on stage with his parents. As a stage comedian he entered into the world of burlesque in the 1920s. Joe's film career took off in 1943 with an uncredited appearance in 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' and then 'The Doughgirls' in 1944. After these two films and several more Joe settled into comedy shorts for Columbia where he could bring some of his stage persona to the big screen.

Joe DeRita is probably most famous for being in the Three Stooges late in their career. He was offered the part as a 'stooge' around the time that Curly Howard had his stroke, in 1946, eventually dying in 1952. Shemp Howard only wanted to be a temporary replacement. Joe refused the part and Shemp continued until his own untimely death in 1955. Joe Besser was then brought in as the third stooge, but when Columbia shut down their short film comedies section, Joe Besser quit the act. Joe DeRita was asked again to join the Three Stooges and this time he accepted working with them in films from 1959 to 1970 when the act was finally retired.

Jitter Bughouse (1948) as Joe

Have Rocket -- Will Travel (1959) as Curly-Joe

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