Joe Cobb

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Joe Cobb
Joe Cobb fsa 8d42890.jpg
Cobb building a B-25 Mitchell bomber during WW2, circa 1944-45
Joe Frank Cobb

(1916-11-07)November 7, 1916
DiedMay 21, 2002(2002-05-21) (aged 85)
OccupationChild actor
Years active1923–early 1940s

Joe Frank Cobb (November 7, 1916 – May 21, 2002) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing as the original "fat boy" in the Our Gang comedies from 1922 to 1929.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma on November 7, 1916,[2] Cobb auditioned for producer Hal Roach's Our Gang comedy series at the age of five in 1921. He first worked with the series in 1922, appearing in The Champeen (1923) and The Big Show (1923).[3][4]

Cobb appeared in the Our Gang series' last silent film, Saturday's Lesson, and its first talking short, Small Talk, both in 1929.[5]

His penultimate episode as a regular cast member was Boxing Gloves (1929) when he was 12. Joining him in that film (a remake of The Champeen) is 'Chubby' (15-year-old Norman Chaney), Cobb's successor as the 'fat kid',[6] and Jackie Cooper in his film debut.

Cobb's final regular Our Gang appearance was in the Lazy Days episode (released Aug. 4, 1929). He appeared in 86 Our Gang films during the seven years from 1922 to 1929. He also made three cameo appearances during the 1930s, in Fish Hooky (1933), Pay as You Exit (1936), and Reunion in Rhythm (1937).

After his acting career ended in the early 1940s, Cobb became an assembler for North American Aviation, a division of Rockwell International[5] in Downey, California. He retired in 1981 at age 65.

In 1986, decades after his last film role, he appeared in Classic Comedy Teams, a 1986 documentary that looked at the Our Gang actors and other screen comedians.[5]


Cobb died of natural causes on May 21, 2002 in Santa Ana, California.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 82.


  1. ^ Kings & Queens of Hollywood Comedy
  2. ^ Some sources such as the first edition (1977) of Our Gang: The Life and Times of the Little Rascals documented him as being born in 1916 or 1917; however the Oklahoma birth index indicates he was born in 1916.
  3. ^ Demoss, Robert. "The Champeen!". The Lucky Corner. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. ^ Demoss, Robert. "The Big Show". The Lucky Corner. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d The Associated Press (25 May 2002). "Joe Cobb, 85; Was Child Star in 'Our Gang'". New York Times Archive. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  6. ^ Demoss, Robert. "Boxing Gloves". The Lucky Corner. Retrieved 27 November 2018.

External links[edit]