Birth Name: Joseph Franklin Wardell
Date of Birth: July 12, 1909
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Date of Death: July 3, 1993
Place of Death: Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Ethnicity: Irish, possibly other
Joe DeRita was an American actor and comedian. He was a member of the comedy act The Three Stooges, which also included brothers Shemp Howard, Moe Howard, and Curly Howard, as well as Joe Besser and Larry Fine.
Joe was the son of Florenz/Florence (Dorrida) and Frank Wardell. His father was a stage technician and his mother was a stage dancer. They often performed together.
His father was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His mother was born in Baltimore, Maryland.
While Joe’s ancestry is sometimes given as Italian, English, Portuguese, and/or French-Canadian, it is not clear if this is accurate. His mother’s family appears to be Irish rather than Portuguese/Italian.
Joe was married to chorus girl Bonnie Brooks, until her death, and then to Jean Sullivan, until his death.
Joe’s maternal grandfather likely was named William F. Dorrida. William was born in Maryland, to an Irish father.
Joe’s maternal grandmother likely was named Mary E. Quinn (the daughter of Bee A.). Mary E. was born in Maryland, to an Irish mother.
Source: Likely Joe’s mother on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Ethnicity Related Discussion