Strange but true: Gravel-voiced comic actor Joe E. Ross was once a boy tenor. In fact, while working as a singing waiter in a Bronx eatery at age 16, Ross' lilting voice was known to move hardened gangster types to sentimental tears. After Ross' voice broke (actually it shattered into a million pieces), he found success as a burlesque and nightclub comic, principally in the Miami Beach area. One of the best of the "blue" comics of the 1950s, Ross had to launder his act considerably when cast as mess sergeant Rupert Ritzik in the popular Phil Silvers sitcom You'll Never Get Rich (aka Sergeant Bilko, 1955-59). Series producer Nat Hiken starred Ross in the strikingly similar role of Bronx police officer Gunther Toody on Car 54 Where Are You, which ran from 1961 through 1963. Both Ritzik and Toody--like Ross himself--were born without taste buds (trivia collectors take notice!), both had a long-suffering wife (played by Beatrice Pons) who'd regularly stick her head out the window and shout "Listen, America! My husband is a nut!," and both exclaimed "Ooh! Ooh!" whenever excited. In 1967, Joe E. Ross co-starred with Imogene Coca as a caveman in the monumentally unsuccessful Sherwood Schwartz sitcom It's About Time, then returned to the nightclub circuit, sporadically showing up in bit roles in films as aesthetically diverse as The Love Bug (1968) and Linda Lovelace For President (1975).