American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 17

Joe Besser

1907 — 1988


Joe Besser was a number two banana, a stooge. Like the best of stooges, he made an indelible impression, sometimes remembered after one had forgotten the headliner he had supported. Joe is best recalled as the plump, sissified brat dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit, hissing “O-o-o-h, I’ll harm you!” and taking ineffectual swats at those who annoyed him. He worked with Olsen & Johnson in Sons o’ Fun on Broadway, with Abbott & Costello on their half-hour television series and he replaced Shemp Howard, upon the latter’s death, in The Three Stooges.