Joe E. Brown - Rotten Tomatoes

Joe E. Brown

Highest Rated:   96% Some Like It Hot (1959)
Lowest Rated:   40% Pin-Up Girl (1944)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
One of comedian Joe E. Brown's proudest claims was that he was perhaps the only kid whose parents encouraged him to run away with the circus. In 1902, the 10-year-old Brown joined a circus tumbling act called the Five Marvellous Ashtons, with whom he started his vaudeville career. He toured in burlesque in an acrobatic act, and also briefly played semi-professional baseball. His avid interest in baseball inaugurated a lifelong association with that sport which would included his participation in the National Vaudeville Artists ballteam, his part-ownership of the minor league Kansas City Blues, and his providing pregame "color" for the televised New York Yankees games of the 1950s (Joe's son Joe L. became manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955). On the verge of his leaving vaudeville for Broadway in 1919, Joe discovered that Actors' Equity had called a strike; with very little hesitation, he grabbed a sign and joined the picket line. In 1920, Brown finally made it to Broadway as a comedian in the all-star review Jim Jam Jems. He went on to star in such New York productions as Captain Jinks and Twinkle Twinkle. In 1928, he began his movie career, uncharacteristically appearing in turgid melodramas until he was signed by Warner Bros. in 1929. In his popular Warners vehicles, Brown alternated between playing naive young men who made good despite impossible odds, or brash braggarts who had to be taken down a peg or two. His trademark was his huge mouth, cavernous grin, and drawn-out yell. Joe's best films were those in which he was permitted to display his athletic prowess, such as his "baseball trilogy" Fireman Save My Child (1932), Elmer the Great (1933) and Alibi Ike (1935). Personally selected by Max Reinhardt to play Flute in the lavish Warners adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), Brown easily stole the show from such formidable competition as James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Victor Jory, and Mickey Rooney. During his Warner years, Brown and his wife began sponsoring promising college athletes: among Joe's proteges were UCLA football star (and later producer) Mike Frankovitch, and Olympic contestant (and future politician) Ralph Metcalfe. After ending his Warners contract in 1936, Brown starred in a series of largely disappointing low-budget comedies for independent producer David Loew. By the early 1940s, Brown's pictures were strictly in the "B" category, though some of them, notably his brace of co-starring assignments with comedienne Judy Canova, had glimmers of the old Brown magic. He worked tirelessly entertaining troops in all corners of the world during World War II; their enthusiastic response enabled Brown to overcome the death of his son, Captain Donald Evans Brown, in a training accident. After the war, Brown devoted most of his energies to stage work, notably in the road companies of Harvey and Show Boat (he would repeat his interpretation of Captain Andy in the 1951 MGM film version of Show Boat). He added television to his long list of accomplishments in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of Joe E. Brown's final film appearances were cameo roles, with the outstanding exception of his portrayal of daffy millionaire Osgood Fielding in Some Like It Hot (1959), wherein Joe, after discovering that his "girlfriend" Jack Lemmon was actually a man, brought down the house by uttering the film's classic punchline: "Well, nobody's perfect."

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
88% The Comedy of Terrors
  • Cemetery Keeper
1964
75% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Union Official
1963
96% Some Like It Hot
  • Osgood E. Fielding III
1959
No Score Yet The Rainmaker
  • Townsman
1956
74% Around the World in 80 Days
  • Station Master
1956
No Score Yet The Joe E. Brown Show
  • Actor
1955
89% Show Boat
  • Capt. Andy Hawks
1951
No Score Yet The Tender Years
  • Rev. Will Norris
1947
40% Pin-Up Girl
  • Eddie Hall
1944
No Score Yet Hollywood Canteen
  • Himself
1944
No Score Yet Joan of Ozark
  • Cliff Little
1942
No Score Yet All-American Co-Ed
  • Actor
1941
No Score Yet Rodeo Dough
  • Actor
1940
No Score Yet Flirting with Fate
  • Dixon
1938
No Score Yet The Gladiator
  • Hugo Kipp
1938
No Score Yet Wide Open Faces
  • Wilbur Meeks
1938
No Score Yet Fit for a King
  • Virgil Jones
1937
No Score Yet Riding on Air
  • Elmer Lane
1937
No Score Yet When's Your Birthday
  • Dustin Willoughby
1937
No Score Yet Earthworm Tractors
  • Alexander Botts
1936
89% A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Flute
1935
No Score Yet Bright Lights
  • Joe Wilson
1935
No Score Yet Alibi Ike
  • Frank X. Farrell
1935
No Score Yet A Very Honorable Guy
  • 'Feet' Samuels
1934
No Score Yet The Circus Clown
  • Happy Howard
1934
No Score Yet Elmer, the Great
  • Elmer Kane
1933
No Score Yet You Said a Mouthful
  • Joe Holt
1932
No Score Yet Fireman, Save My Child
  • Joe Grant
1932
No Score Yet The Tenderfoot
  • Calvin Jones
1932
No Score Yet Local Boy Makes Good
  • John Augustus Miller
1931
No Score Yet The Stolen Jools
  • Actor
1931
No Score Yet Sit Tight
  • Jojo
1931
No Score Yet Going Wild
  • Rollo Smith
1931
No Score Yet The Lottery Bride
  • Hoke Curtis
1930
No Score Yet Up the River
  • Deputy Warden
1930
No Score Yet Sunny
  • Joe Vitto
1930
No Score Yet Maybe It's Love
  • Speed Hanson
1930
No Score Yet Sally
  • Connie
1929
No Score Yet Painted Faces
  • Hermann / Beppo
1929
No Score Yet Sunny Side Up
  • Joe Vitto
1929
56% In Old Arizona
  • Bartender
1928

Quotes from Joe E. Brown's Characters