1001 W 75TH ST. WOODRIDGE, IL 630-427-1880

Hollywood Memorial

Joe Besser

The fifth of the ‘Three Stooges,’ as a child he spent most of his time attending vaudeville shows as opposed to going to elementary school. He ran away from home to work in a magic act, then with his own vaudeville routine he was continually gaining more and more popularity and before long was a headliner on the theatre circuits. After experiencing much success on Broadway and vaudeville, Besser was signed to a contract with Columbia Studios in 1938, and appeared in both features and short subjects. In 1946 he also began performing on the new medium of television, on a variety series entitled ‘Hour Glass.’ He stole the show with his opening military skit, ‘The Rookie,’ and got the attention of a great many television producers. His best-remembered television appearances came on ‘The Abbott and Costello Show,’ in which he played a man named Stinky on thirteen episodes. In 1956, he joined the ‘Three Stooges’ after the death of Shemp Howard, and appeared in sixteen shorts with them. It is perhaps unfortunate that this period of his career is what many people most remember him for today, for many critics and fans agree that this was not representative of his talents or vast body of work. In 1958, he left the act to be with his wife, who had just suffered a heart attack. After she had recovered, he continued with his acting career, appearing on many more television programs and in feature films. Starting in 1962 and continuing through 1965, he was a regular on ‘The Joey Bishop Show,’ which gave a large boost to his already high level of popularity. After his long fruitful association with Joey Bishop ended, he made frequent cameo and character appearances throughout the Sixties and Seventies on television shows such as ‘The Danny Thomas Special,’ ‘That’s Life,’ ‘The Jerry Lewis Show,’ ‘Love American Style,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘My World and Welcome to It,’ ‘That’s Life,’ ‘The Jerry Lewis Show,’ ‘Love American Style,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘My World and Welcome to It,’ ‘That Girl,’ and ‘The Bing Crosby Christmas Special.’ He said that in these later years of his life, his best friends, and his best audience. Now enjoying the peace of Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California just outside the mausoleum where Larry Fine is entombed, his headstone is inscribed, ‘He brought the world love and laughter.’