Joe E. Brown (Joe E. Brown)

Joe E. Brown

Actor, Comedian.  Born in Holgate, Ohio, he exhibited natural athletic ability as a boy, and joined a tumbling act which toured and appeared with circuses and area vaudeville theaters. After spending a number of years as a youth touring and performing, he returned to Toledo, Ohio at age fourteen.  He played on many Toledo amateur baseball teams as a teenager, and had a brief semiprofessional stint with Needham’s All-Stars until a broken leg slowed his sports career.  Offered a contract with the New York Yankees, he declined in deference to his budding career in show business (he would go on to portray a baseball player in many of his movies).  To meet financial ends he left the entertainment world and worked in business in the Toledo area, but soon decided to try show business again  – this time in Burlesque comedy.  A Broadway producer noticed him and he landed a part in the successful show “Listen Lester.”  He later performed in the show “Jim Jam Jems”, which made him a star, and the “Greenwich Village Follies” followed by an appearance in the revived show “Captain Jinks” (voted best musical 1925 to 1926).  His last stage show “Twinkle Twinkle” would be his finale, as he moved to Hollywood, California seeking a movie career. Signed to contract by Warner Brothers Studio in 1929, he included a strange clause; it stipulated that he was to be supplied with a baseball team, which became “Joe Brown’s All Stars”.  Many of his most notable motion pictures were those where he was permitted to use his athletic abilities, such as “Fireman Save My Child’ “Elmer the Great” and “Alibi Ike.” He ended his contract with Warner Brothers in 1936, and signed with an independent producer. His career after that consisted of a series of low-budget comedies and films in the “B” category.  During World War II he put his movie career on hold to provided entertainment for United States troops, and he suffered the loss of his son, a United States Army captain who was killed in a stateside airplane crash. In the postwar era Brown worked mainly with stage productions for road companies “Harvey” and “Show Boat”, then added television appearances in the 1950s and 1960’s.  He was awarded a special Tony Award for the touring production of “Harvey”, and Bowling Green State University named a theatre after him where he appeared in a production of that musical.  His most well know post-World War II role was that of ‘Osgood Fielding III’ in the 1959 comedy “Some Like It Hot”. He wrote his biography “Laughter is a Wonderful Thing” with collaborator Ralph Hancock, which was published in 1956, and the work “Joe E. Brown: Film Comedian and Baseball Buffoon” by Wes D. Gehring was published in 2006. His son, Joe L. Brown, served as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team from 1955 to 1976. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)  Family links:  Parents:  Mathias Brown (1863 – 1919)  Anna Maria Evans Brown (1867 – 1961)  Spouse:  Kathryn M. Francis Brown (1892 – 1977)*  Children:  Don Evan Brown (1916 – 1942)*  Siblings:  Michael Brown (1889 – 1917)*  Joe E. Brown (1892 – 1973)  Cornelia Brown (1893 – 1911)*  Luella E Brown Landis (1902 – 1968)*  Paul E Brown (1904 – 1951)* *Calculated relationship


  • July, 28, 1892
  • USA


  • July, 07, 1973
  • USA


  • Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
  • California
  • USA

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