Joe Besser

Comedian, Actor, Magician's assistant
Short, portly comedian whose eccentric personas often were whiny, child-like, cautious or bratty, Joe Besser is best recalled as Stinky, the "man-child" dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit who caused Lou Costello ... Read more »
Born: 08/12/1907 in St Louis, Missouri, USA

Filmography

Actor (20)

My Smurfy Valentine 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Voice

The Galaxy Goofups 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Voice

Yogi's Space Race 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Voice

Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Voice

The Oddball Couple 1975 - 1977 (TV Show)

Voice

The Houndcats 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Voice

Bing Crosby's Christmas Show 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

The Monk 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Actor

Which Way to the Front? 1969 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Jack Benny Program 1950 - 1965 (TV Show)

Actor

Let's Make Love 1960 (Movie)

Lamont (Actor)

Say One For Me 1958 (Movie)

Joe Greb (Actor)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Cops 1955 (Movie)

Hunter (Actor)

The Abbott and Costello Show 1951 - 1954 (TV Show)

Actor

Eadie Was a Lady 1945 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hey, Rookie 1944 (Movie)

Pendelton (Pudge) Pfeiffer (Actor)

Africa Screams (Movie)

Harry (Actor)

Jeannie (TV Show)

Voice

Joe Palooka Meets Humphrey (Movie)

Carlton (Actor)

Woman in Hiding (Movie)

Fat Salesman (Actor)

Biography

Short, portly comedian whose eccentric personas often were whiny, child-like, cautious or bratty, Joe Besser is best recalled as Stinky, the "man-child" dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit who caused Lou Costello much consternation, and for joining The Three Stooges for the last of their 16 two-reel shorts at Columbia after the death of Shemp Howard. A burlesque and vaudeville performer who emigrated to Hollywood at the demise of those two stage genres, he began doing bits in radio and in films, usually as weak, frightened passive characters. Besser began to attract more audience recognition as Mr. Know It All on radio's "Let Yourself Go" (from 1945 to 1949) and then in 1950, when he spent a year as a comedy performer on the CBS variety program "The Ken Murray Show". Audiences enjoyed him as the skipping, brat Oswald, a.k.a. 'Stinky', who threatened "I'll harm you" whenever he was grasped by the arm on TV's "The Abbott and Costello Show" (syndicated, 1952-54).

Relationships

Morris Besser

Father
Orthodox Jew immigrated from Poland to USA in 1895

Fanny Besser

Mother
Polish immigrant Orthodox Jew moved to USA in 1895

Manny Besser

Brother
older

Esther Besser

Sister
older

Florence Besser

Sister
older

Gertrude Besser

Sister
older

Henrietta Besser

Sister
older

Lilly Besser

Sister
older

Molly Besser

Sister
older

Rose Besser

Sister
older

Erna Kretschmer

Wife
married on November 18, 1932

EDUCATION

Glascoe Elementary School

St Louis , Missouri

Milestones

1968

Made TV movie debut, "The Monk" (ABC)

1946

Made appearance on "Hour Glass", one of the first live hour-long entertainment series produced for a TV network (NBC)

1938

Film debut in the short "Cuckoorancho"

1938

Teamed with singer Lee Royce

1932

Featured on Broadway in "The Passing Show of 1932"; also in cast were Ted Healy, Shemp Howard. Moe Howard and Larry Fine

1930

Toured vaudeville partnered with Dick Dana

1928

Went solo as a comedian

1923

Worked in various capacities in vaudeville

1923

Became magician's assistant to Madame Herrmann

1920

At age 13, stowed away on train carrying his idol magician Howard Thurston; joined Thurston's act as a magician's assistant

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri

Signed by Columbia Pictures

Performed bit roles in more than 40 motion pictures

Played Stinky on "The Abbott and Costello Show"

Did voices for Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including Puddy Puss, Babu, and Scarebear

Played Mr. Know It All on the radio show "Let Yourself Go", starring Milton Berle

Played Mr. Jillson on the ABC sitcom "The Joey Bishop Show"

Member of The Three Stooges, performing in final 16 two-reel shorts for Columbia

Appeared as an exasperated child in Olsen and Johnson's stage show "Sons of Fun"

Had featured spots on radio shows including "The Jack Benny Show", "The Fred Allen Show" and "Tonight on Broadway"

Became regular on first TV series, "The Ken Murray Show"

As a teenager, decided to become a magician

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