Joe (Curly Joe) DeRita, 83, the lone survivor of the three Stooges, died Saturday at the Motion snapshot and Television fund retirement house in woodland Hills after ~ a bout the pneumonia, a family member said.

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DeRita joined Moe Howard and Larry good in 1959 together a third replacement because that the initial Curly.

The three Stooges of Columbia photos fame--Moe Howard; his brother, Curly (Jerome Lester Howard); and also Larry Fine--made more than 200 quick films in the 1930s and 1940s. Jerome’s fatality in 1952 ~ a collection of strokes thrust the persona the the short, stocky Curly into upheaval.

He was an initial replaced by Shemp, one more Howard brother, and then through Joe Besser. In 1959, DeRita come on the scene.


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DeRita, who gained his vaudeville start at age 8 through the dancing DeRitas, was the male that Moe and also Larry want after Besser left the act.

When his contract wit the Harold Minsky present in las Vegas expired, he joined the Stooges. Their an initial stage show, in Barstow, was “a total flop,” stated Robert Benjamin, DeRita’s stepson. Yet the act quickly picked up, and also the new trio play fairs, carry out on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and also completed a grasp of feature-length films, including “Snow White and also the 3 Stooges,” “Have Rocket will certainly Travel” and “The three Stooges satisfy Hercules.”

The trio additionally completed a pilot for “Kook’s Tour,” a suggest TV series. Larry and Moe passed away in 1975, Benjamin said.

DeRita was born in Philadelphia and lived many of his life in the Los Angeles area, many recently in Burbank, Benjamin said. He traveled through Europe and Japan performing for troops during human being War II.


Benjamin claimed he will certainly remember his stepfather together forever do jokes.

“Joe provided to love to torment waiters,” Benjamin said. “He couldn’t stop being a comedian.”

Benjamin, who said he to be a 20-year-old hippie attract love beads at the time, recalled an occurrence in the 1960s.

“Joe entered the garage and came out through a bunch the spark plugs and also wrenches roughly his neck. The said, ‘These are my love beads,’ ” Benjamin said. “He was very kind-hearted. He aided me the end on so numerous occasions.”

DeRita invested two year at the woodland Hills retirement home and hospital after a series of strokes made it too complicated for his mam to care for him, Benjamin said.

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In addition to Robert Benjamin, that is survived by his wife, Jean DeRita, and stepson Earl Benjamin. The family members has asked for that any kind of donations walk to the Motion photo and Television fund in lieu of flowers. Funeral arrangements to be pending.


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Lee Romney

Former staff writer Lee Romney extended the just Area and Northern California news for the Los Angeles times from the mountain Francisco bureau. Romney flourished up in Canada and also then Arizona before moving come the bay Area. She started with the L.A. Time in 1992 and after plenty of years in the Southland went back to San Francisco in 2003. She left the newsroom in 2015.


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