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Joe E. Ross Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJoseph Roszawikz
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gravel-voiced comedian Joe E. ("Oooh! Oooh!") Ross was born in Manhattan and began his career, ironically enough, as a singing waiter in speakeasy clubs. Comedy came to the forefront, however, and he steadily built up his image as a stand-up comic and impressionist, announcing and emceeing at burlesque clubs and various niteries around and about the Schuster circuit out of Chicago in the late 1930s. He made his film debut in the hotsy-totsy girlie show Teaserama (1955), which featured strippers Bettie Page and Tempest Storm and female impersonator Vicki Lynn. The underground flick had Ross doing his familiar baggy-pants burlesque schtick. Another "break" came with the comedy Hear Me Good (1957), co-starring Hal March, but it went nowhere and did not result in other offers. The crevice-faced, roly-poly funnyman's greatest claim to fame would be on situation comedy television, first as a third banana to Phil Silvers on his popular late 1950s series "You'll Never Get Rich" (The Phil Silvers Show (1955) / "Sgt. Bilko") and in the cult hit series Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) as dim-bulb Officer Gunther Toody, opposite Fred Gwynne (famous as "Herman Munster") as the more serious Officer Francis Muldoon. Silvers himself had discovered Ross, who was infamous for his "blue comedy" routines, working at the Club Ciro in Miami Beach, and he and producer/partner Nat Hiken hired him for "Bilko" in the role of dunderhead Master Sgt. Rupert Ritzik. It was Hiken who later gave the green light for Ross to co-star in "Car 54".

Ross' last series was It's About Time (1966), in which he played a caveman named "Gronk" who was brought back to modern times with cavegirl Imogene Coca, but the series was critically blasted and short-lived. He fell out of favor after that and returned to the nightclub scene, appearing occasionally in shoddy, low-grade and obscure films with such tasteless and exploitative titles as How to Seduce a Woman (1974), Linda Lovelace for President (1975), Slumber Party '57 (1976) and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977).

Joe E. Ross died while on stage at the age of 68 and was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Spouse (1)

Arlene Ross (? - 11 August 1982) (his death)

Trade Mark (2)

The catchphrase "Oooh Oooh, Jumpin' Jehosephat!"
Catchphrase: "Do you mind?... DO-YOU-MIND?"

Trivia (7)

Attended Seward Park High School and was once a boy tenor.
Served in the Army Air Corps during WWII.
On his tombstone are inscribed the words "This Man Had a Ball".
Had a provision in his will that he be given a comical send-off. He got his wish, as mostly comedians attended his funeral. Among them was Larry Storch. Even Ross' wife was in stitches afterward.
He and his wife were living in a housing complex in Los Angeles and he was hired to do a stand-up act for the residents for $100. In the middle of the show he felt ill, and sat down on the edge of the stage. Almost immediately he keeled over and died, apparently from a heart attack. When his wife later went to the management to collect the $100 he was to be paid, they only gave her $50, saying, "He didn't finish the show".
He was married at least eight times, and possibly 11 (he wasn't quite sure).
Joe E. Ross had the same last name as the real-life husband of Beatrice Pons, the actress who played his on-screen, two-comedy-series TV wife. Beatrice Pons was married to David Ross from 1937 until his death in 1991. Joe E. Ross and Beatrice Pons played husband and wife on The Phil Silvers Show (1955) (MSgt. Rupert Ritzik and Emma Ritzik) and Car 54, Where Are You? (1961) (Officer Gunther Toody and Lucille Toody).

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