The Three Stooges – “Curly” Joe DeRita

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Born Joseph Wardell, in 1909, he was the fourth third Stooge.

The youngest of five brothers in a show business family, Joe joined the burlesque circuit during the 1920s, gaining fame as a comedian. During World War II, DeRita joined the USO, performing through Britain and France. After the deaths of Curly and Shemp, Moe was looking for another third Stooge. Since they couldn’t get DeRita at first, they got this guy, Joe Besser.

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“Not so haaaard!” When he had to quite the act to take care of his wife, Moe was again short a Stooge. About this time, Columbia started syndicating the Stooges on television and they were suddenly superstars. When DeRita was invited to join the act, he jumped right in, and they called him Curly Joe. The new set of Stooges made six feature films, including Have Rocket, Will Travel (1959), and Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961).

Here’s a rare commercial with DeRita as a Stooge:

A lot of the movies can be found on YouTube.

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