Happy Birthday to the forgotten Stooge.


On July 12, 1909, Joseph Wardell was born in Pennsylvania, U.S. The American actor is better known as Joe “Curly Joe” DeRita, the sixth member of the hard-edged slapstick comedy trio, “The Three Stooges.” In honor of Curly Joe’s birthday, DMG Entertainment has compiled a list of little known tidbits about one of the Stooges’ lovable idiots. So protect your eyeballs and be careful where you step! As you should know by now, destruction follows every Stooge!


Used To Shenanigans

DeRita was the youngest of his five brothers.


Performing Ran in His Blood

Because his mother was a dancer and his father was a stage technician, DeRita found himself in show business at the age of seven. Joe joined his mother and father for the stage performance of PECK’S BAD BOY.


Already a Star

Before joining the Stooges, DeRita appeared in feature films for Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, Monogram, Republic, and Columbia; his debut was in THE DOUGHGIRLS (1944).


War Time Efforts

During World War II, DeRita joined the USO, performing through Britain and France with such celebrities as Bing Crosby and Randolph Scott.

BS Three Stooges and Baltim.jpg

Well, This Is Kind Of Obvious… Why was DeRita named, “Curly Joe”? First, there was already a Stooge named Joe (Joe Besser). Second, he resembled original Stooge Curly Howard with his overweight figure yet graceful movements.


Stooges Stick Together

When DeRita joined the Three Stooges, Moe Howard considered him more of an employee than a partner. Larry Fine threatened to quit the Stooges unless Moe made him a full partner.


A Stooge on the Screen

As a member of the Three Stooges, Curly Joe co-starred in numerous features films, such as HAVE ROCKEY, WILL TRAVEL (1959), SNOW WHITE AND THE THREE STOOGES (1961), and THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES (1962).


Red Carpet Treatment

In 1959, the trio of Moe, Larry and Curly Joe made more than a million dollars in income before taxes. By the end of the year, the trio were commanding hefty fees at theaters and nightclubs.


When it’s Time to Go…

After Moe Howard’s death ended the Three Stooges comedy team in 1975, DeRita retired from the biz.


Last But Not Least

Over its lifetime, The Three Stooges had six members altogether; DeRita was the last member to join the team. DeRita was also the last of the Stooges to pass away, on July 3, 1993.


Once a Stooge, Always a Stooge

Curly Joe was buried in North Hollywood’s Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery, his tombstone reads: “The Last Stooge”.

Thanks for the hilarious antics and cherished memories Curly Joe!


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