Three Stooges Joe Besser Back in the Limelight
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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - eMusicWire -- A former Three Stooges comedy team member is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, 34 years after his death.

Comic Joe Besser, who served as the third stooge in the teams two-reel comedies released in 1957-1959, is back in the limelight, thanks to highly popular YouTube channel and a new book which fans are discovering.

The channel, JoeBesserForever (youtube@joebesserforever), which surpassed more than a half a million views last month, features nearly 200 high-definition clips from Besser's nearly 350 memorable movie and TV roles, including as a member of the Three Stooges, as Stinky on The Abbott and Costello Show, as Jillson on The Joey Bishop Show, and more.

"If Joe had lived to see this, he would have been extremely proud," said Greg Lenburg, who created and launched the channel last November. Lenburg, and his twin brother Jeff, are Besser's official biographers, were close personal friends of him and his wife Ernie for nearly two decades and served as Besser's press agents. (The channel is also available at the website,

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Besser was the third comedian to round out the third stooge role. He replaced his close friend Shemp Howard who died of a sudden heart attack in 1955. Shemp, who was the original third stooge in vaudeville, returned to the act in 1947 after his younger brother, Jerome "Curly" Howard, suffered a stroke and later died in 1952.

Besser's character, which he developed in vaudeville, was an impish, childlike sissy who brandished his foils with a flick of the wrist and with such hilarious verbal assaults as "Ooh, you cr-a-a-z-y you!" and "Not so f-a-a-s-t!"

"Joe brought new life to the team when they really needed it," said Lenburg. "It really was imperative to have a comedian of Joe's calibre working with Moe and Larry during this period in Stooges film history who could add real sparkle to these low budget films" added Lenburg.

Ironically, it was Besser who had the distinct honor to unveil the Stooges' Hollywood Walk of Fame star at a ceremony in 1983. His replacement in the act, Curly-Joe DeRita, was too ill to attend. His former partners, Moe and Larry died in 1975. The unveiling set an attendance record with more than 3,000 fans on hand. It was, and still is, the largest attended unveiling in Walk of Fame history.

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In addition to JoeBesserForever, fans are discovering an updated and enlarged edition of Joe's autobiography, Once a Stooge, Always a Stooge (originally published in 1984 as Not Just a Stooge.) and a second website, launched by Lenburg last month, The site is dedicated as to why "Joe Besser was the right stooge at the right time."


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